The contribution of general and cancer-related variables in explaining physical activity in a breast cancer population 3 weeks to 6 months post-treatment

Psychooncology. 2013 Jan;22(1):203-11. doi: 10.1002/pon.2079. Epub 2011 Oct 5.


Objective: Physical activity determinants are subject to change when confronted with the diagnosis of 'cancer' and new cancer-related determinants appear. The aim of the present study is to compare the contribution of cancer-related determinants with more general ones in explaining physical activity 3 weeks to 6 months post-treatment.

Methods: A theory-based and validated questionnaire was used to identify physical activity levels (total and domain-specific) and associated determinants among 464 breast cancer survivors (aged 18 to 65 years) 3 weeks to 6 months post-treatment.

Results: Descriptive analyses showed higher scores for general determinants in comparison with cancer-related determinants. Nevertheless, regression analyses showed that both general and cancer-related determinants explained total and domain-specific physical activity. Self-efficacy, enjoyment, social support, lack of time and lack of company were important general determinants. The perception of returning to normal life, cancer-related barriers (fatigue, lack of energy and physical side effects) and self-efficacy in overcoming these barriers were important cancer-related determinants. Although results differed according to the women's working status and the physical activity domain, general self-efficacy explained most physical activity types in both groups.

Conclusion: Comparable with the general population, enhancing breast cancer survivors' self-efficacy in being sufficiently physically active seems to be important in physical activity interventions post-treatment. However, interventions should be tailored to the experienced symptoms and working status of the women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Belgium
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / rehabilitation
  • Exercise*
  • Fatigue
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Quality of Life
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult