Perceived Barriers to Physical Activity in Older and Younger Veterans With Serious Mental Illness

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Abstract

Objective: Individuals with serious mental illness endorse many more medical and psychosocial barriers to physical activity (PA) than the general population. However, it is unknown if older adults with serious mental illness are at greater risk of experiencing barriers to PA than their younger counterparts. Method: The present study utilized a national VA dataset to compare veterans with serious mental illness ages 55 and older (n = 9,044) to veterans with serious mental illness ages 54 and younger (n = 8,782) on their responses to a questionnaire assessment of barriers to PA. Results: Older veterans were more likely to endorse arthritis and cardiopulmonary disease, and less likely to endorse work schedule, as barriers to PA. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: Interventions designed to increase PA for young/middle-aged adults with serious mental illness may be broadly useful for older adults with serious mental illness, with some modification to address specific health concerns.

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