Exercise interventions as an adjunct therapy for psychosis: A critical review

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To review the existing evidence examining effectiveness of exercise as an adjunct therapy for psychosis.


A search of databases including Pub Med, Psych Info, Cochrane Library, Cinahl, Sports Discus and Web of Knowledge was conducted to identify studies investigating the psychological changes following exercise interventions in people with psychosis. Literature was subjected to a critical review to determine the effectiveness of exercise as a therapy for psychosis.


A total of ten studies met the inclusion criteria: four quantitative, two qualitative and four using a mixed method design. Exercise interventions were supervised and generally lasted between 10 and 12 weeks. Study samples were small, even in the quantitative studies, meaning that statistical analysis was not always possible. Study design and outcome measures varied across all studies. Generally the research findings demonstrated a positive trend towards improved mental health for those participants utilising exercise.


The findings suggest the presence of a positive effect of exercise on mental health in people with psychosis, yet there is a need for greater consistency within the research to determine the size of effects and the most successful type of intervention. As exercise is increasingly used in the mental health service, more research is needed to provide a more comprehensive evidence-based practice.

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