Barriers and enablers of physical activity engagement for patients with COPD in primary care

Maria Christina Kosteli, N Heneghan, C Roskell, S E Williams, P Adab, A P Dickens, A Enocson, D A Fitmaurice, K Jolly, R Jordon, S Greenfield, J Cumming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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Background Given that physical activity (PA) has a positive impact on COPD symptoms and prognosis, this study examined the factors that both encourage and limit participation in PA for individuals with COPD in a primary care setting from the perspective of social cognitive theory. Methods A purposive sample of 26 individuals with a range of COPD severity (age range: 50–89 years; males =15) were recruited from primary care to participate in one of four focus groups. Thematic analysis was undertaken to identify key concepts related to their self-efficacy beliefs. Results Several barriers and enablers closely related to self-efficacy beliefs and symptom severity were identified. The main barriers were health related (fatigue, mobility problems, breathing issues caused by the weather), psychological (embarrassment, fear, frustration/disappointment), attitudinal (feeling in control of their condition, PA perception, older age perception), and motivational. The main enabling factors were related to motivation (autonomous or controlled), attitudes, self-regulation, and performance accomplishments. Clinical implications When designing interventions for individuals with COPD, it is important to understand the patient-specific social cognitive influences on PA participation. This information can then inform individually tailored management planning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1031
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of COPD
Early online date28 Mar 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Mar 2017


  • Barriers
  • COPD
  • Enablers
  • Primary care
  • Self-efficacy
  • Social cognitive theory


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