Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 61–71 | Cite as

Improved Sleep, Diet, and Exercise in Adults with Serious Mental Illness: Results from a Pilot Self-Management Intervention

  • Timothy Schmutte
  • Larry Davidson
  • Maria O’Connell
Original Paper


Compared to the general population, adults with serious mental illnesses have elevated rates of medical morbidity resulting in a reduced life expectancy of approximately 15 years. Chronic disease self-management programs for adults with serious mental and chronic medical illnesses show some promise in improving physical health-related outcomes, yet none of them address sleep quality. Poor sleep affects a majority of adults with serious mental illness and is robust risk factor for physical morbidity and premature mortality. This pilot project examined the impact of a 14-week educational and support group that included sleep quality as a cornerstone in promoting wellness and self-management in 78 adults with serious mental illness and poor health. Results provide preliminary data that the self-management program was associated with significant improvements in self-reported sleep quality at post-intervention. At 3-month follow-up, participants reported additional increases in sleep quality as well as in healthy diet and exercise frequency. Addressing sleep quality as part of self-management and wellness programs may be a viable approach to assist adults with chronic mental and physical illnesses to adopt health-promoting changes.


Sleep Self-management Physical health Diet Exercise Serious mental illness 



We are grateful to the individuals who participated in this project and to our indispensable team of research assistants. Dr. Schmutte wishes to thank Ross Levin, Ph.D. for fostering his interest in research and teaching him the clinical importance of sleep quality.

Compliance with ethical standards


The study was supported by the Donaghue Foundation.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale Program for Recovery and Community HealthYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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