Table of Contents
Advances in Psychiatry
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 261642, 8 pages
Review Article

The Psychosocial Consequences of Sports Participation for Individuals with Severe Mental Illness: A Metasynthesis Review

1School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
2School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Essex CO4 3SQ, UK
3School of Health and Social Care, University of Greenwich, London SE10 9LS, UK
4Department of Neurosciences, University Psychiatric Centre, KU Leuven, Leuvensesteenweg 517, 3070 Kortenberg, Belgium
5Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, 3001 Leuven, Belgium

Received 14 August 2014; Accepted 9 February 2015

Academic Editor: Takahiro Nemoto

Copyright © 2015 Andrew Soundy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of the current metasynthesis review was to explore the psychosocial benefits of sport and psychosocial factors which impact on sports participation for individuals with severe mental illness. AMED, CINAHL Plus, Medline, EMBASE, ProQuest Nursing & Allied Health Source, and Science Citation Index were searched from inception until January 2014. Articles included use qualitative methods to examine the psychosocial effects of sports participation in people with severe mental illness. Methodological quality was assessed using the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Studies and a case study tool. Included studies were analysed within a metasynthesis approach. Eight articles involving 56 patients met the inclusion criteria. The results identified the broader and direct psychosocial benefits of sport. Sport provided a “normal” environment and interactions that were not associated with an individual’s mental illness. Sport provided individuals with a sense of meaning, purpose, belonging, identity, and achievement. Other findings are discussed. Direct psychosocial benefits are a consequence of sports participation for the vast majority of individuals with severe mental illness. Further to this, sports participation was associated with a reduction in social isolation and an increase in social confidence, autonomy, and independence.