• health;
  • lifestyle;
  • psychiatric;
  • disability;
  • psychosocial;
  • sense of coherence

Aims and objectives.  The aim of this study was to investigate how a lifestyle intervention programme influences psychiatric and psychosocial factors among persons with psychiatric disabilities.

Background.  Persons with psychiatric disabilities often suffer from a simultaneous physical health problem, where circulatory disorder, hyperlipideamia, digestive disease, diabetes mellitus and obesity are prevalent. Studies have also shown a relationship between physical activity and mental health. But few randomised controlled trails have been aimed specifically at lifestyle interventions and their effect on psychiatric health and quality of life among persons with psychiatric disabilities.

Design.  A cluster randomised controlled trail.

Methods.  Forty-one persons with a DSM-IV diagnosis in eight supported housing facilities and two housing support programmes and their carers were on cluster level randomly assigned to a 12-month health intervention programme in the form of study circles with diet sessions and physical activities or a control programme. The changes in the mean of quality of life, level of functioning, psychiatric symptoms and sense of coherence was investigated and its relationship to physical health and attendance.

Results.  A significant increase in the sense of coherence was seen in both programmes but also significant improvements in the intervention group compared to controls at the follow-up.

Conclusions.  Structured activities in the form of lifestyle intervention programmes with a sufficient level of challenge that encourage persons with psychiatric disabilities to participate in activities in a social context may contribute to a significant increase in the sense of coherence.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Improving physical health with lifestyle programmes in the form of study circles and when involving their cares will in addition to increased physical health end in improved sense of coherence.