Perceptions of Persons with Schizophrenia Relating to their Weight

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Digel, Amanda
Schizophrenia , Qualitative Research , Weight Gain
Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine weight and lifestyle among persons with schizophrenia from their perspectives. Two specific research questions are addressed: 1: What are the perceptions of persons with schizophrenia related to their weight? 2: What are the experiences of persons with schizophrenia in maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Methods A qualitative, constructivist research design is used to guide the study. Unstructured interviews are the method of data collection and analysis is done using constant comparison. A purposive sample of 18 participants was obtained from an Outpatient Psychiatric Unit. Findings Three themes, Normal Life Thrown a Curve Ball, Weight Management as Complex, and Today’s Experiences Shape Tomorrow’s Outcomes, were identified by the participants. Weight management was seen as a complex and difficult phenomenon; however, participants were optimistic about their ability to achieve a healthy weight in the future. Individual strategies, support and education were identified as essential weight management components. Conclusions The perceptions identified in this study further our understanding of the complexity of weight management, and can be used to design future weight loss interventions better tailored to this population.
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