Supportive relationships – Psychological effects of group counselling in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Keywords:group interaction, social support, physical activity, polycystic ovary syndrome
AbstractThe objective of the present study was to examine the psychological impact of a group-oriented approach to disease management and health behaviour in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Seventeen overweight PCOS women were randomised in a crossover design of eight weeks high-intensity aerobic exercise followed by eight weeks of group counselling (n=8) or vice versa (n=9). Interpersonal communication, emotional and relational aspects were observed and analysed throughout the period focusing on changes in health behaviour. The most salient findings showed supportive relationships expressed as group cohesion, exchange of narratives of illness and of disorder-specific aspects. Individual relationships between the participants were important for changes in behaviour, especially those generating feedback from the other participants and reducing social isolation. The results were most encouraging in the group that had initial counselling sessions before the physical intervention. It can be concluded that group counselling sessions focusing on supportive relationships followed by high-intensity aerobic training have beneficial effects on wellbeing, health and exercise behaviour.
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