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Feasibility Study of Increasing Social Support to Enhance a Healthy Lifestyle Intervention for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness
  • Published Date:
    May 03 2016
  • Source:
    J Soc Social Work Res. 7(2):289-313.

Public Access Version Available on: July 01, 2017 information icon
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  • Pubmed ID:
  • Pubmed Central ID:
  • Description:

    Healthy lifestyle interventions addressing obesity in people with serious mental illness (SMI) lead to modest weight losses that tend not to be sustained over time. By augmenting lifestyle interventions with family and peer support targeting health behavior change, greater weight loss might be obtained and sustained in this population. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of increasing support from family and friends to enhance a healthy lifestyle intervention (In SHAPE) adapted for individuals with SMI.


    A sample of 7 dyads (14 total participants) participated in this small-scale open-feasibility trial of social support strategies to enhance health promotion. Weekly 1-hour health coaching sessions were augmented by sessions designed to increase support for healthy eating and exercise through active learning and didactic instruction. Feasibility was assessed by program participation and by examining participants’ satisfaction and exploring suggestions for improving the model post-intervention.


    The majority of participants (57%) nominated a friend, followed by adult child-parent pairs (28%) and sibling pairs (14%) to participate as support partners in the study. All participant-partner dyads (100%) completed 12 sessions within 16 weeks. Participants reported high satisfaction and perceived benefits from the program. Recommend modifications by the dyads included more interactive sessions, a combination of group and dyadic sessions, and hands-on cooking classes.


    This formative research showed that the study design is feasible and that the intervention can facilitate social support for health behavior change in people with SMI. Further research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention.

  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Funding:
    K12 HS021695/HS/AHRQ HHS/United States
    U48 DP005018/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
  • Supporting Files:
    No Additional Files
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