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Experiences of psychosocial and programme-related barriers to recovery in lifestyle interventions for noncommunicable diseases

P Skowno
W Derman
D.J. Stein
C.E. Draper


Background: The majority of global deaths are due to noncommunicable diseases, largely preventable and treatable utilising behavioural interventions.

Objectives: The study investigated patients’ experiences of a lifestyle intervention programme for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), and the influence that psychosocial and programme-related barriers had on patients’ ability to improve their well-being.

Methods: Fourteen patients with NCDs were interviewed before and on completion of a 12-week lifestyle intervention programme at a sports and exercise medicine clinic. Thematic analysis techniques were used to analyse interview data.

Results: Patients described their experiences of NCDs diagnosis as traumatic, and their own relationship with their bodies and with the disorder(s) to be vulnerable and significantly challenging. Professional incompetence and unethical treatment were included as barriers to recovery. Barriers specifically relating to the programme included scheduling, as well as the online assessment component. Those reporting more premorbid psychosocial barriers were more likely to experience current complications, whether disease- or treatment-related, often emphasising the negative influence of programme and professional-related problems.

Conclusion: Qualitative methodologies enabled the study to yield clinically relevant insights with respect to patients with NCDs. Accounting for the trauma and vulnerability experienced by this cohort may assist in the development of more patient-centred interventions and sustainable secondary prevention of NCDs.

Keywords: chronic diseases of lifestyle; intervention evaluation; psychological risk factors; social support; professional conduct

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2078-516X
print ISSN: 1015-5163