Body esteem and mood among sedentary and active breast cancer survivors

Mayo Clin Proc. 2004 Feb;79(2):181-6. doi: 10.4065/79.2.181.


Objectives: To assess mood states and body esteem in 2 groups of breast cancer survivors, regular exercisers and sedentary women, and to examine these variables among younger and older women in each group.

Patients and methods: Between 1998 and 2002, we conducted a cross-sectional study among early-stage breast cancer survivors at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, RI, comparing 40 women who reported regular exercise with 79 sedentary women. We used multivariate and univariate analyses to compare the exercisers with sedentary women on fitness, physical activity, and questionnaire measures of body esteem and mood. Analyses were repeated after the 2 groups were subdivided by age (< 50 years vs > or = 50 years).

Results: Regular exercisers (mean +/- SD age, 54.57 +/- 9.18 years) reported significantly more positive attitudes toward their physical condition and sexual attractiveness; significantly less confusion, fatigue, depression, and total mood disturbance; and higher vigor than sedentary women (mean +/- SD age, 52.33 +/- 9.11 years). Both younger and older exercisers had higher physical condition scores than their sedentary peers. Older exercisers reported higher vigor and less confusion, anger, fatigue, depression, and total mood disturbance than sedentary women, regardless of age. Younger exercisers reported higher vigor than their sedentary peers and less confusion than older sedentary women.

Conclusions: In this largely white sample of well-educated women, breast cancer survivors who exercised (particularly older women) reported higher body esteem and better mood than sedentary breast cancer survivors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Age Factors
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Body Image*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Physical Fitness