2016 has seen the development and implementation of an exciting new Thriving initiative through a partnership with the WA Drug and Alcohol Youth Service. This partnership, with start-up support from WA Department of Sport and Recreation and now a CommBank Community Grants, has resulted in the deliver and preliminary evaluation of a tailored exercise program for youth within residential treatment for alcohol and substance misuse.
Excitingly preliminary findings have demonstrated that not only is the program feasible with high participation rates among youth, but following participation in the program youth described themes relating to exercise perceptions, recovery-specific outcomes, and other health outcomes.
Specifically, via interview, they cited benefits including establishment of healthy routine, improved overall sleep, improved appearance, positive recovery (i.e., interpersonal) relationships, cathartic effects, and a sense of accomplishment.
Youth with substance use disorders are prone to co-occurring physical and mental health comorbidities, and the results of this study indicate that exercise may assist in remedying these issues, and we can't wait to share further results via publications in the coming months.
Research Team: Alissa More (AEP - Honours Candidate 2016), Dr Bonnie Furzer, Dr Ben Jackson, Dr James Dimmock & Dr Ashleigh Thornton (Sport Science, Exercise & Health - The University of Western Australia)
Collaborators: WA Drug and Alcohol Youth Services