The role of physical activity in prevention, reduction and treatment of alcohol and substance use

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Dr Tom Thompson

Dr Tom Thompson is a Research Fellow within Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, supported by grants from several National Institute of Health Research grants and he is currently the Principal Investigator on a Research for Patient Benefit funded systematic review of physical activity and the prevention, reduction, and treatment of alcohol and substance use across the lifespan (The PHASE Review: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/primarycare/a-systematic-review-of-physical-activity-for-alcohol-and-substance-use-disorders). Other research focuses on nicotine and alcohol addiction, and the design and evaluation of complex behavioural interventions aimed at addressing multiple behaviours among disadvantaged groups. He has published numerous journal articles and authored book chapters relating to addiction. He is a member of the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction group and is a co-author of the Cochrane review on Motivational Interviewing for Smoking Cessation. His primary research interests include addiction, physical activity, mental health, multiple behaviour change, and the design and evaluation of complex interventions.



The talk will begin with a brief background on the potential influence physical activity may have in preventing, reducing, and treating alcohol and substance misuse, before moving on to present the preliminary findings from a National Institute of Health Research (Research for Patient Benefit Programme) funded mixed methods systematic review.

The review (conducted over 17 months) is examining published academic and grey literature on the role of physical activity (in its broadest sense) in the prevention, reduction, and treatment of alcohol and substance use. It has a broad and comprehensive search strategy (including public and patient and stakeholder involvement throughout) incorporating quantitative and qualitative evidence from a diverse range of research designs. It is searching experimental evidence from around the world in an attempt to quantify the potential impacts of physical activity on alcohol and substance use and examining grey literature specific to the UK context in an attempt to understand what we know about what works for who, how, when, and where. With the assistance of developed advisory groups, the findings will be disseminated to a variety of audiences through various approaches to maximise the potential for the findings to directly impact on policy, commissioning, service provision, and future research directions.


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