Perceived Barriers to, and Benefits of Physical Activity Among Injured or Sick British Military Veterans: A Behaviour Change Wheel Perspective


Physical activity (PA) has been shown to have many positive benefits for wounded, injured, and/or sick (WIS) British military veterans. Before PA is promoted in this population, however, it is important to understand the perceived barriers to, and benefits involved. Yet, to date, research has not explored this topic; despite many WIS veteran PA interventions being implemented within the UK. Lack of evidence-based interventions, such as these, have been heavily criticised in the literature and may explain the mixed results of some UK-based WIS veteran PA interventions. With this research, future interventions can be designed which overcome perceived barriers and emphasise the benefits, optimising the intervention’s effectiveness.

The behaviour change wheel (BCW) and COM-B modelare successfully used models for designing and evaluating behavioural interventions. Using a BCW perspective, 9 semi-structured interviews were conducted to identify perceived barriers to, and benefits of PA amongst WIS military veterans from a diverse range of backgrounds and injuries.

Physical opportunity, physical capability, and reflective motivation were prominent COM-B related perceived barriers to PA engagement, with psychological capability, social opportunity, and automatic motivation being less prominent. A plethora of perceived benefits were identified from the data and were all categorised under reflective motivation, as these were considered beliefs about consequence of participation.

Conclusions and Implications
In the context of PA and WIS British military veterans, environmental restructuring and coercion or persuasion may be effective way of overcoming significant barriers identified in this study.

Author Information
Robert Walker, Cardiff Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
Paul Smith, Cardiff Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
Caroline Limbert, Cardiff Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2020
Stream: Mental Health

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon