Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Subject Heading(s)

Health and environmental sciences; Community health nursing; Community mental health nursing; Healthy Choices program; Quality of life; Nursing; Public Health


Due to the prevalence of serious mental illness, both nationally and statewide, creation of sufficient community-based services that focus on mental and physical health would help to meet a need for a comprehensive approach to mental health care treatment and quality of life (QoL). With the creation of the Healthy Choices program the principal investigator (PI) examined how participationin a community-based healthy living program affects perception of QoL in individuals with serious mental illness. The HealthyChoices program is a community-based program that assists participants with serious mental illness to make healthy lifestyle choices. Although perception of QoL has been previously measured in populations with serious mental illness, it is essential to evaluate this perception as an outcome that stems from participation in a community-based healthy living program.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of participation in the Healthy Choices program on perception of QoL on theparticipants of the program. A mixed methods approach to data collection was implemented for this study. The Wisconsin Quality of Life Index (WQLI) client questionnaire and the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS) was administered to subjects who participated in the Healthy Choices program along with Mental Wellness groups (HCMW) and subjects who only participated in Mental Wellness workshops (MW-only). Qualitative data was collected via administration of a structured interview questionnaire and was administered to both groups.

Quantitative findings were not significant in supporting that participation in the Healthy Choices program improved perception ofQoL and level of disability. However, qualitative findings were significant in supporting that participants in the Healthy Choicesprogram developed a perception of satisfaction in terms of physical and mental health and ability to make healthier lifestyles choices. The Healthy Choices participants also perceived that making lifestyle choices, that promoted physical and mental health, assisted them in feeling less physically and psychologically disabled.