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Int J Nurs Stud. 2012 Apr;49(4):398-406. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2011.10.008. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Developing a healthy living intervention for people with early psychosis using the Medical Research Council's guidelines on complex interventions: phase 1 of the HELPER - InterACT programme.

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The University of Manchester, United Kingdom.



Young people with early psychosis often gain a significant amount of weight after the initiation of anti-psychotic treatment. Despite the current policy guidance to develop and evaluate 'healthy living' interventions for people with psychosis there remains a paucity of research. Our aim was to develop an acceptable, feasible, culturally sensitive and potentially effective 'healthy living' intervention, specifically for young people with early psychosis.


Using the Medical Research Council guidelines for developing and evaluating complex interventions we conducted a number of studies to devise a 'healthy living' intervention. We used a 'top down' (published evidence), bottom up (stakeholder perspectives) approach, which included updating a systematic review, identifying a theoretical basis for the intervention, exploring the perspectives of service users and health professionals, and identifying key cultural issues. The results of these studies were synthesised to determine the content and delivery of the intervention.


The intervention developed comprised eight individual sessions to be delivered by a support time recovery worker over a 12 month period with emphasis on individualised action plans to facilitate participatory exercise and changes in diet. To optimise engagement, choice and self management a booklet and website were developed to provide participants with educational advice, healthy eating recipes and other materials.


Using the Medical Research Council guidelines we have developed a potentially effective, feasible and acceptable 'healthy living' intervention for people with psychosis using early intervention services in the UK.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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