Designing a feasible exercise intervention in first-episode psychosis: exercise quality, engagement and effect

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
357 Downloads (Pure)


First-episode psychosis (FEP) is the first presentation of a psychotic disorder that usually propagates during early adulthood. FEP represents an important early intervention point to attenuate the metabolic risks associated with psychosis and its treatment. Exercise has potential to improve metabolic and functional outcome, but engaging this population in regular exercise is typically difficult. Promoting enjoyment and attendance may improve participation.

22 men with FEP were randomised to a 12-week intervention of exercise training, or treatment as usual. Exercise was pre-standardised based on measures of heart rate to assess intensity. Symptoms of psychosis were assessed, alongside measures of quality of life, disability and habitual activity.

The study observed 83% attendance at exercise sessions, with target intensity attained. There were clinically meaningful decreases in PANSS positive (17.31%) and general psychopathology (10.98%) scores and exercise was protective of negative score increase observed in the control group (13.89%). Assessment of disability declined after training (12.65%) compared with a 20.78% increase in controls.

This study demonstrated that engagement of FEP patients in an intervention of high quality exercise was possible. Positive changes in psychopathology scores and disability show that the benefits of regular exercise are achievable with a potential positive impact on clinical presentation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112840
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatry Research
Early online date5 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Exercise adherence
  • Exercise intervention
  • First-episode psychosis
  • Heart Rate
  • Psychotic symptoms


Dive into the research topics of 'Designing a feasible exercise intervention in first-episode psychosis: exercise quality, engagement and effect'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this