Exploring the Potential of Case Formulation Within Exercise Psychology

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology

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Andrew J. HutchisonBirmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

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Lynne H. JohnstonCity Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

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The purpose of this article is to expand the literature on case formulation as a clinical tool for use within exercise psychology, generally and lifestyle behavior change interventions, specifically. Existing research offers limited support for the efficacy of current physical activity behavior change intervention strategies, particularly in the long-term. The present paper argues that intervention strategies need to pay greater attention to the complex and individualistic nature of exercise and health related behaviors. It has been suggested that existing intervention designs tend to conform to a medical model approach, which can at times potentially neglect the complex array of personal and situational factors that impact on human motivation and behavior. Case formulation is presented as a means of encouraging a dynamic and comprehensive approach to the development and implementation of practical interventions within the health behavior change field. The adoption of these clinical techniques may facilitate the careful consideration of variations in the development, manifestation, and maintaining mechanisms of problematic behaviors (e.g., inactivity). An overview of case formulation in its different forms is presented alongside a justification for its use within exercise psychology.

Andrew J. Hutchison is with Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK. Lynne Johnston is with South of Tyne Specialist Weight Management Service, Dept. of Clinical Health Psychology, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, UK.

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