Date of Award

Fall 12-13-2019

Document Type

DNP Project

Project Team Faculty Member

Dr. Mary Barron

Project Team Faculty Member

Dr. Rebecca Luebbert


Severe Mental Illness, Group Therapy, Physical Activity, Inpatient Behavioral Health, Motivation, Exercise Physiologist


Physical activity is beneficial for the wellness of both the body and mind. Preventable physical diseases are the cause of the majority of deaths in individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) (Vancampfort et al., 2017). Motivation can be a barrier to regular physical activity. Learning by observation can facilitate maintaining behavior change. Thus, physical activity groups on an inpatient behavioral health unit were facilitated by exercise physiologists to improve mental health and physical health (Kaur et al., 2013; WHO, 2015). Lack of physical activity on inpatient behavioral health units is a common practice. The primary aim of this project was to educate patients with severe SMI regarding physical activity and how it relates to wellness for the mind and body, along with increasing motivation to continue post-discharge. The focus of the project was on the development and implementation of a physical activity group three days a week for patients admitted to the behavioral health unit. The primary outcome measure was the patients’ perception of the value and usefulness of the physical activity group. Patients completed a survey after participation. A descriptive statistical analysis was performed from a 7-point Likert survey, showing the physical activity group to be clinically and statistically significant to the value and usefulness of physical activity with an overall mean of 6.27 (p: 0.001- 0.049), with the exception of one outlier (p: .608). Further research is needed to determine if the perceived motivation to participate in physical activity continues post-discharge.

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