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What is the Lived Experience of Improving Psychological Wellbeing Through Physical Activity?

Rose, Menna (2023). What is the Lived Experience of Improving Psychological Wellbeing Through Physical Activity?. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The beneficial effects of physical activity (PA) on mental health are well documented. However, its use within mental health treatment appears to be suboptimal. Some suggest that this might be due to practitioners’ insufficient knowledge of the mechanisms underpinning the PA and mental health relationship. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, this study set out to develop a more in-depth and contextualised understanding of the lived experience of improving psychological wellbeing through PA. It was hoped that, in comparison to previous quantitative research, this study’s qualitative findings might more readily translate into the counselling psychology field and wider clinical practice. Eight participants were recruited and underwent semi-structured interviews. Analysis of their transcripts led to three Group Experiential Themes (GETs): ‘Physical Activity Activates an Embodied Awareness’, ‘Physical Activity is a Reliable Resource for Managing How One Feels’, and ‘Physical Activity Facilitates Enriching Experiences that also Improves Wellbeing’. These GETs and their respective subthemes were discussed in relation to the existing literature, and their relevance to counselling psychology has been considered. Possible implications for clinical practice have also been explored, and the more active inclusion of PA as part of routine mental health care has subsequently been encouraged.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Rose thesis 2023 redacted PDF-A.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
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