Psychosocial Processes Influencing Weight Management Among Persons Newly Prescribed Atypical Antipsychotic Medications
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PURPOSE: To generate a theory of the psychosocial processes influencing weight management among persons newly prescribed atypical antipsychotic medications. RESEARCH QUESTIONS: 1. What influences weight management in persons with first-episode psychosis who are newly prescribed atypical antipsychotic medications? 2. How is weight management facilitated in persons with first-episode psychosis who are newly prescribed atypical antipsychotic medications? 3. What psychosocial processes impede weight management in persons with first-episode psychosis who are newly prescribed atypical antipsychotic medications? METHODS: A qualitative, grounded theory research design was used to guide the study. Semi-structured interviews were the method of data collection and analysis was performed using constant comparison. SAMPLE & SETTING: A sample of 10 participants with first-episode psychosis prescribed atypical antipsychotics for at least eight weeks and six participants with a diagnosis of chronic schizophrenia who have been taking atypical antipsychotic medication for at least three years were obtained from an Outpatient Psychiatric program using theoretical sampling. FINDINGS: Contextual factors influencing weight management were: accessibility to resources, unstructured lifestyle, and others’ perception of their weight. Conditions influencing weight management were: rapid weight gain, insatiable hunger, and a lack of motivation boosters. Participants’ early responses to actions influencing weight gain management included discontinuing medications, choosing lower calorie foods, using walking in daily activities as exercise, accepting weight gain, and trying to manage weight but giving up. The consequences revealed from data analysis were contemplating weight management and not trying, as the barriers to weight management substantially exceeded the facilitators and many procrastinated in taking on any weight management strategies. CONCLUSION: The theoretical framework developed in this study can assist with the understanding and management of weight gain among this unique population.