The role of sport and exercise in recovery from serious mental illness: two case studies

David Carless, Kitrina Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Despite continuing interest in the physical activity-mental health relationship, few studies have recently been published concerning the effects of exercise for men with serious mental illness. This study helps fill this gap through an interpretive approach that explores how sport and exercise can contribute to recovery from mental illness. Case studies of two men's experiences are presented that illustrate two distinct roles sport and exercise can play. In the first case, sport and exercise are central to the participant's identity and fundamental to his sense of self. For this individual, returning to sport and exercise following remission of psychotic symptoms represents a return to intrinsically meaningful activities. In the second case, sport and exercise are used as a tool or vehicle for desired outcomes that facilitate personally meaningful vocational activities. For this individual, sport and exercise represent a fresh start and a worthwhile use of time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-156
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Men's Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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