Exercise on prescription and its role in the promotion of mental health: A critical investigation
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AbstractThe aim of the research was to investigate the current and potential role of exercise on prescription in the promotion of mental health. Key objectives were to determine the extent and nature of the mental health outcomes of an exercise on prescription scheme from the participant perspective; to acquire an insight into scheme impact at the 'wider' community level; and to explore the potential for augmenting the mental health promotive role of exercise on prescription through the application of mental health promotion theory. These objectives were pursued using triangulated methods. A self-completion questionnaire was employed for the quantitative element of the study, while in-depth interviews were conducted for the qualitative component of the investigation. Research participants were members of the Biddulph Valley Exercise on Prescription Scheme. Findings indicated that exercise on prescription may play an effective role in mental health promotion, generating a range of psychosocial health impacts promotive of mental well-being among participants and the wider community. Results also revealed that the augmentation of the mental health promotive role of exercise on prescription, in line with mental health promotion theory, was largely unwarranted, being inappropriate to the mental health needs of participants. These findings suggest that exercise on prescription confers benefits of an extent and nature as yet not widely recognised, and that the principles of mental health promotion may not be universally applicable. The implications for research and practice are to acknowledge the potentially significant psychosocial outcomes of exercise on prescription when targeting and evaluating initiatives, and when informing scheme development, to ensure that it is not theory, but needs assessment that takes precedence.
TypeThesis or dissertation
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