Conceptualizing the benefits of a group exercise program developed for those with chronic fatigue: a mixed methods clinical evaluation

Victoria Strassheim, Vincent Deary, Deborah A. Webster, Jane Douglas, Julia L. Newton, Katie L. Hackett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Fatigue is a disabling and prevalent feature of many long-term conditions. Orthostatic dizziness is a commonly experienced by those with fatigue. The purpose was; to evaluate factors contributing to successful delivery of a novel group exercise program designed for people with chronic fatigue and orthostatic symptoms and identify targets to improve future program content and delivery.

Research methods: We used group concept mapping methodology. Participants of the exercise program with a long-term physical health condition and chronic fatigue- contributed ideas in response to a focus question. They sorted these ideas into themed piles and rated them for importance and success of the program delivery. Multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis were applied to the sort data to produce ideas clusters within a concept map. Value ratings were compared to evaluate the success of the program.

Results: The resulting concept map depicted seven key themed clusters of ideas: Exercises, Group atmosphere, Physical benefits, Self-management of symptoms, Acceptance and Education. Value plots of the rating data identified important and successful conceptual ideas.

Conclusions: The concept maps have depicted key concepts relating to the successful delivery of a novel exercise program for people with fatigue and identified specific targets for future program enhancements.

Implications for rehabilitation
Orthostatic symptoms are common in those with fatigue and might be a target for group-based exercise programs.

People with fatigue value a group-based exercise program that targets orthostatic symptoms.

The key concepts of a group-based exercise program valued by those with fatigue are the exercises, group atmosphere, physical benefits, self-management support, acceptance, education and support with looking forwards following the program.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-667
Number of pages11
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number5
Early online date9 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2021


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