Exploring Physical Activity Trends in Youth at Clinically High Risk for Psychosis

boy, video games
boy, video games
Treatment modes targeting motivation may be effective in promoting exercise in youth at clinically high risk for psychosis.

Youth at clinically high risk for psychosis (CHR) are less physically active and perceive more barriers to engaging in physical activity than their healthy counterparts, according to study data published in Schizophrenia Research.

CHR (n=51) and healthy control (n=37) participants completed a structured clinical interview assessing attenuated psychosis symptoms and substance use. An exercise survey was administered to capture current exercise practices, perceived physical fitness, and barriers to participating in exercise.

Survey results indicated that the CHR group participated in significantly fewer physical activities (P ≤.001) compared with healthy controls. CHR patients engaged in fewer group (P =.08) and significantly fewer individual (P =.02) physical activities than controls. Additionally, the CHR group reported spending much less time exercising than healthy controls when they did engage in physical activity (P =.02). CHR patients reported lower perceived fitness (P ≤.05) than healthy controls, although there were no differences in reported levels of exercise intensity. CHR individuals also reported more barriers related to motivation (P <.001) than healthy controls. Lower perceptions of fitness among CHR participants were associated with increased negative (P =.008), disorganized (P =.01), and general symptoms (P =.002). Greater symptomatology was associated with barriers of self-perception (P <.001) and motivation (P =.01) related to exercise.

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These data suggest that sedentary behavior is common among CHR youth, and that treatment modes targeting motivation may be effective in promoting exercise for this demographic.

Disclosures: Dr Mittal is a consultant with Takeda Pharmaceuticals. No other authors have conflicts to disclose.


Newberry RE, Dean DJ, Sayyah MD, Mittal VA. What prevents youth at clinical high risk for psychosis from engaging in physical activity? An examination of the barriers to physical activity [published online June 13, 2018]. Schizophr Res. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2018.06.011