Objective: Serious mental illness (SMI; e.g. schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, delusional disorder, bipolar disorder, severe major depressive disorder, and psychotic disorders) and Latino ethnicity can produce a compounded health disparity, placing individuals at particularly high risk for excess morbidity and premature mortality. In this study we sought to identify the role of SMI in motivation, participation, and adoption of health behavior change among overweight Latino adults. Design: Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 overweight Latinos with SMI who were enrolled in a randomized trial evaluating the effectiveness of a motivational health promotion intervention adapted for persons with SMI, In SHAPE. The interviews explored the complicated role having an SMI had in the lives of the Latino participants. Results: SMI had both positive and negative impact on Latino participants’ health behaviors. The nature of their mental illness along with medication side effects (e.g. lethargy, weight gain, etc.) negatively impacted their ability to making lasting health behavior change. However, the regular appointments with various specialists provided them with structure that they otherwise would have lacked and gave them a reason to get out of the house. Conclusions: This exploratory research provides insight into the experience of overweight Latinos with SMI and the ways in which SMI impacts their participation in health behavior change. An understanding of the positive and negative effects of SMI on health behavior change will inform the development of health promotion interventions targeted at Latinos with SMI.
- Health behavior change
- serious mental illness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health