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Background: Increasing physical activity in patients with severe mental illness is believed to have positive effects on physical health, psychiatric symptoms and as well quality of life. Till now, little is known about the relationship between physical activity and quality of life in long-term hospitalized patients with severe mental illness and knowledge of the determinants of behavioural change is lacking. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the relationship between objectively measured physical activity and quality of life, and explore modifiable psychological determinants of change in physical activity in long-term hospitalized patients with severe mental illness.