People with severe mental illness (SMI) are less physically active and more sedentary than healthy controls, contributing to poorer physical health outcomes in this population. There is a need to understand the feasibility and acceptability, and explore the effective components, of health behaviour change interventions targeting physical activity and sedentary behaviour in this population in rural and semi-rural settings.

This 13-week randomised controlled feasibility trial compares the Walking fOR Health (WORtH) multi-component behaviour change intervention, which includes education, goal-setting and self-monitoring, with a one-off education session. It aims to recruit 60 inactive adults with SMI via three community mental health teams in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Primary outcomes are related to feasibility and acceptability, including recruitment, retention and adherence rates, adverse events and qualitative feedback from participants and clinicians. Secondary outcome measures include self-reported and accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary behaviour, anthropometry measures, physical function and mental wellbeing. A mixed-methods process evaluation will be undertaken. This study protocol outlines changes to the study in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This study will address the challenges and implications of remote delivery of the WORtH intervention due to the COVID-19 pandemic and inform the design of a future definitive randomised controlled trial if it is shown to be feasible.

Trial registration
The trial was registered on clinicaltrials.gov (NCT04134871) on 22 October 2019.


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Cite as

McDonough, S., Howes, S., Dillon, M., McAuley, J., Brady, J., Clarke, M., Clarke, M., Lait, E., McArdle, D., O'Neill, T., Wilson, I., Niven, A., Williams, J., Tully, M., Murphy, M. & McDonough, C. 2021, 'A study protocol for a randomised controlled feasibility trial of an intervention to increase activity and reduce sedentary behaviour in people with severe mental illness: Walking fOR Health (WORtH) study', Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 7(1), article no: 205. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40814-021-00938-5

Downloadable citations

Download HTML citationHTML Download BIB citationBIB Download RIS citationRIS
Last updated: 16 June 2022
Was this page helpful?