Are psychologists willing and able to promote physical activity as part of psychological treatment?

Nicola W. Burton, Kenneth I. Pakenham, Wendy J. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Physical activity can provide psychological benefits, but there is little research on psychologists' promoting activity as part of psychological treatment. Purpose: This study assessed psychologists' attitudes to and frequency of providing activity advice and counseling. Method: A mail questionnaire sent to 620 psychologists provided 236 responses (38%). Items assessed frequency of providing activity advice and counseling, confidence to provide activity advice and counseling, perceived efficacy of activity for managing physical and psychological conditions, acceptability of activity advice and counseling, knowledge of national activity guidelines, exposure to training in activity promotion, and practice and sociodemographic characteristics. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and multiple linear regression analyses. Results: Among respondents, 83% reported often recommending activity, 67% often provided activity advice, and 28% often did activity counseling. There was a high level of acceptability for physical activity promotion as part of psychological treatment. Over 80% of respondents were confident to provide general activity advice, discuss activity options, and problem solve barriers to activity, but less than half were confident to monitor activity levels or to tailor advice. Factors significantly associated with providing activity advice and counseling were: if the psychologist reported doing regular exercise, confidence to provide general activity advice, high acceptability, working in private practice, and clients presenting with general health and well-being issues (p<0.05). Seventy-two percent of respondents were interested in attending a workshop on providing activity advice and counseling. Conclusion: Many psychologists are willing and potentially able to promote physical activity as part of psychological treatment and would be likely to participate in relevant professional development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-297
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

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