Depression, physical activity and mental health: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of healthcare professionals’ attitudes to exercise referral schemes

Miller, Paul K. and Ward, Rachel Louise (2013) Depression, physical activity and mental health: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of healthcare professionals’ attitudes to exercise referral schemes. In: University of Cumbria Research and Enterprise Conference, 6 July 2013, University of Cumbria, Lancaster, UK. (Unpublished)

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Depression is, today more than ever, a profoundly serious public health concern in the UK, impacting upon the lives of individuals from all social backgrounds and strata (Yohannes & Caton, 2010). Moreover, and contrary to the often-held stereotype of a relatively simple disorder of mood, the condition manifests in an additional array of psychological and somatic symptoms such as “…loss of interest and pleasure, loss of appetite, weight loss/gain, sleep disturbance, psychomotor agitation or retardation, energy decrease, sense of worthlessness, guilt, difficulty in concentrating, or thoughts of suicide.” (Legrand & Heuze, 2007, p.348). In recent years a body of research has emerged dedicated to exploring the value and impacts of exercise in assisting individuals suffering from depression (see Callaghan, Khalil, Morres, & Carter, 2011; Carter, Callaghan, Khalil, & Morres, 2012), and Exercise Referral Schemes (ERS) have been developed to provide access to structured programmes of physical activity. Robust evidence indicates that such physical activity can have strong positive impacts upon the rehabilitation process, not least in terms of enhancing happiness with physical appearance and providing venues for social interaction (Daley, MacArthur, & Winter, 2007; Johnson & Taliaferro, 2011). Despite the well-documented success of various ERSs, and the relative affordability thereof when compared to CBT or pharmaceutical options, however, rates of such referral in cases of mild to moderate depression are low (Callaghan, Khalil, Morres, & Carter, 2011). The research reported in this paper stems from a high-definition investigation of the attitudes of a small number of General Practioners in the North West (N=4), utilising Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Pringle, Drummond, McLafferty, & Hendry, 2011; Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009) to reveal how such attitudes are embedded in first- and second-hand experience of ERSs, with a view to illuminating why progress toward their wider use remains slow in the locale.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Departments: Faculty of Health and Science > Medical and Sports Sciences > Health and Medical Sciences
Depositing User: Paul K. Miller
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2018 16:34
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2018 16:43


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