A promising new health promotion program for individuals with serious mental illness called In SHAPE has been implemented at a community
mental health agency in the thumb region of Michigan. The program includes individualized physical fitness training with one-on-one sessions
between the participant and a health mentor/trainer, and use of community recreation resources for physical fitness activities. Enrollment began in
January 2011. Several participants are now actively working with their health mentor.
This pilot study will explore the physical fitness experiences of In SHAPE participants as they transition out of this year-long program. The objective
of the research is to gain insight into what factors contribute to or detract from persistence with behavioral changes that are expected to occur during
the year in the In SHAPE program. The overal purpose is to improve our understanding of what can help to sustain physical fitness behaviors over
time for individuals with serious mental illness.
The researcher will individually interview In SHAPE participants nine months into the program, and again, nine months later to explore their thoughts
about the In SHAPE program, their past and present experiences with physical activity, and expectations for physical activity in the future. A
psychoanalytic approach to interviewing and data analysis will be used. Psychoanalytic narrative provides an organizing explanatory framework
capable of identifying causal links.
This research will add to knowledge gained from quantitative evaluations of the In SHAPE program which will make use of data being collected at
baseline and three month intervals throughout the year in the program.