Acute effects of the physical and social environment on anxiety and perceived stress and their impact on walking levels in people with epilepsy

01 November 2022 → 31 October 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Environmental health and safety
    • Health promotion and policy
    • Preventive medicine
    • Human movement and sports sciences not elsewhere classified
    • Neurosciences not elsewhere classified
Physical activity Physical and social environment Epilepsy
Project description

Many people with epilepsy (PWE) do not meet the physical activity (PA) guidelines. However, PA has antiepileptic and anxiolytic effects, which is of utmost importance for PWE, since stress and anxiety are very common triggers of seizures. Walking is an accessible and feasible way to be active. The physical and social environment positively influences walking levels in the general population. Therefore, this project will examine how PA (more specifically walking) may be increased in PWE through optimization of the patients’ physical and social environment, without inducing anxiety and perceived stress. Three studies will be conducted using innovative, complementary qualitative and quantitative research methods. First, qualitative in-depth walk-along interviews will be conducted to identify which physical and social environmental characteristics influence anxiety and perceived stress and therefore, may impact walking levels. Using the results of the first study, a second, observational study will use geo-based ecological momentary assessment (GEMA) to capture the time- and context-dependency of determinants of acute anxiety, perceived stress and walking during patient’s daily lives. The results of these studies will be used to evaluate the effects of specific environmental attributes on walking in a third, experimental study using virtual reality. The ultimate goal is to provide environmental recommendations to policy makers and epilepsy patients.