'Even if you can’t skip, you have a skip in your step when you walk out of the gym': a study into patients' perceptions of an exercise referral scheme

Mills, Hayley, Crone, Diane ORCID: 0000-0002-8798-2929, Johnson, L and James, David V ORCID: 0000-0002-0805-7453 (2007) 'Even if you can’t skip, you have a skip in your step when you walk out of the gym': a study into patients' perceptions of an exercise referral scheme. Journal of Sports Sciences, 25 (S2). pp. 108-109.

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Judgements made to date about the effectiveness of exercise referral schemes (ERS) have been largely based upon measurable outcomes (Harland et al., 1999: British Medical Journal, 319, 828 – 832). Evaluations of ERS have been criticised for adopting a medical model of health and not incorporating positive holistic health outcomes (Taylor, 2003: Perspectives on health and exercise. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). Patients’ experiences have so far been overlooked when the outcomes of ERS are examined, partly because of a traditional scheme evaluation model (Crone et al., 2005: Health Education Research, 20, 600 – 611) which is based on the collection of limited data (McNair et al., 2005: Journal of Sport Science, 23, 220 – 222). The patient’s perception of success needs to be clearly defined and understood in order to achieve effective evaluation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of success for the patients who had participated in the ‘Healthwise’ ERS based in the London borough of Greenwich. Using a qualitative grounded theory methodology (Strauss & Corbin, 1999: Handbook of qualitative research. London: Sage) the participants (n¼17; female, n¼13, male, n¼4) were interviewed using focus groups (n¼4). A conceptual framework was produced from the findings. The framework centres on the core category ‘joy of the thing’ which in essence is the satisfaction and pleasure derived from participation. Its relationship to other themes, such as scheme qualities and inclusion, are provided in the narrative. Findings highlight the importance of personal and context related factors and the social experience of exercising for the participants. Findings suggest that exercise referral has a significant part to play in enhancing quality of life for those who take part. These findings challenge the traditional approach to assessing effectiveness of ERS. This study provides a further insight into ERS evaluation and research. Focusing on the participant’s concept of success reinforces the apparent dichotomy between the traditional evaluation outcome measures and the participant’s perspectives of success. This highlights the need for a more holistic approach to the assessment of effectiveness and the importance of understanding the experiences of the people who attend these schemes.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Health and Social Care
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2016 16:04
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2023 16:15
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3190

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