People with long-term serious mental illness live with severe and debilitating symptoms that can negatively influence their health and quality of life, leading to outcomes such as premature mortality, morbidity and obesity. An interplay of social, behavioural, biological and psychological factors is likely to contribute to their poor physical health. Participating in regular physical activity could bring symptomatic improvements, weight loss benefits, enhanced wellbeing and when undertaken in a community-based group setting can yield additional, important social support benefits. Yet poor uptake of physical activity by people with serious mental illness is a problem. This review will systematically search, appraise and synthesise the existing evidence that has explored the experience of community-based physical activity initiation and key features of social support within these contexts by adults with schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, major depressive disorder or psychosis using the meta-ethnography approach. This new understanding may be key in designing more acceptable and effective community-based group PA programmes that meet patients' need and expectations.
This will be a systematic review of qualitative studies using the meta-ethnography approach. The following databases will be searched: ASSIA, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, Health Technology Assessment Database, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Sociological Abstracts, SPORTDiscus and Web of Science. Grey literature will also be sought. Eligible studies will use qualitative methodology; involve adults (≥18 years) with schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, major depressive disorder or psychosis; will report community-based group physical activity; and capture the experience of physical activity initiation and key features of social support from the perspective of the participant. Study selection and assessment of quality will be performed by two reviewers. Data will be extracted by one reviewer, tabled, and checked for accuracy by the second reviewer. The meta-ethnography approach by Noblit and Hare (Meta-ethnography: synthesizing qualitative studies 11, 1988) will be used to synthesise the data.
This systematic review is expected to provide new insights into the experience of community-based group physical activity initiation for adults who have a serious mental illness to inform person-centred improvements to the management of serious mental illness through physical activity.
The protocol has been registered on the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) on 22/03/2017; (registration number CRD42017059948 ).