Barriers and enablers of physical activity engagement for patients with COPD in primary care

Maria-Christina Kosteli, Nicola Heneghan, Carolyn Roskell, Sarah Williams, Peymane Adab*, Andrew Dickens, Alexandra Enocson, David Fitzmaurice, Catherine Jolly, Rachel Jordan, Sheila Greenfield, Jennifer Cumming

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
197 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Given that physical activity (PA) has a positive impact on COPD symptoms and prognosis, this study examined the factors that both encourage and limit participation in PA for individuals with COPD in a primary care setting from the perspective of social cognitive theory. Methods: A purposive sample of 26 individuals with a range of COPD severity (age range: 50–89 years; males =15) were recruited from primary care to participate in one of four focus groups. Thematic analysis was undertaken to identify key concepts related to their self-efficacy beliefs. Results: Several barriers and enablers closely related to self-efficacy beliefs and symptom severity were identified. The main barriers were health related (fatigue, mobility problems, breathing issues caused by the weather), psychological (embarrassment, fear, frustration/disappointment), attitudinal (feeling in control of their condition, PA perception, older age perception), and motivational. The main enabling factors were related to motivation (autonomous or controlled), attitudes, self-regulation, and performance accomplishments. Clinical implications: When designing interventions for individuals with COPD, it is important to understand the patient-specific social cognitive influences on PA participation. This information can then inform individually tailored management planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1031
Number of pages13
JournalInternational journal of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2017


  • COPD
  • social cognitive theory
  • Self Efficacy
  • Barriers
  • Enablers
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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