Do disadvantaged women appreciate a synergetic exercise and psycho-educative program? Rationale and process evaluation of the Exercise without Worries course

Main Article Content

Judith van der Waerden
Maria W.J. Jansen
Cees Hoefnagels
Clemens M.H. Hosman


Rationale, aims and objectives: Stress-related complaints and depressive symptoms are highly prevalent mental health problems among low-SES women. This paper describes the theoretical background, program content and process evaluation of the Exercise without Worries (EWW) course, a new exercise-enhanced psycho-educative intervention that targets coping  and reducing stress and depressive symptoms among disadvantaged women. This eight-week prevention course has been tailored to the specific needs of adult low-SES women. Methods: The process evaluation used a descriptive, observational mixed methods design. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered to determine implementation fidelity and subjective evaluations from the 135 participating women and the intervention providers.Results: Overall attendance rates were satisfactory, but 26% of the recruited participants did not take part in the course. Implementation fidelity was sufficient, while the delivered intervention dose deviated on average for 1 out of 8 sessions from the manual. Overall, the participants reported being very satisfied with all organizational and content aspects of the intervention, with no specific preference for either exercise or psycho-education. Conclusions: The findings suggest that a non-stigmatizing approach of exercise and psycho-education appears to fit with the preferences of low-SES women for preventive interventions. By extending the number of sessions and identifying reasons for non-participation, the program contents and execution can be improved for future adoption and implementation.

Article Details

Regular Articles
Author Biographies

Judith van der Waerden, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Researcher, Department of Health Promotion, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Maria W.J. Jansen, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Program Leader, Public Health Services South Limburg, Geleen, The Netherlands and CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Cees Hoefnagels, Senior Research Associate, Trimbos-Institute, Netherlands Institute for Mental CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Senior Research Associate, Trimbos-Institute, Netherlands Institute for Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht, The Netherlands and CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Clemens M.H. Hosman, Professor, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands and De-partment of Health Promotion, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maas-tricht, The Netherlands

Professor, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands and Department of Health Promotion, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands


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