A Dance Intervention for Cancer Survivors and Their Partners (RHYTHM)

J Cancer Surviv. 2017 Jun;11(3):350-359. doi: 10.1007/s11764-016-0593-9. Epub 2017 Jan 9.

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and impact of a ballroom dance intervention on improving quality of life (QOL) and relationship outcomes in cancer survivors and their partners.

Methods: We conducted a pilot randomized controlled trial with two arms (Restoring Health in You (and Your Partner) through Movement, RHYTHM): (1) immediate dance intervention and (2) delayed intervention (wait-list control). The intervention consisted of 10 private weekly dance lessons and 2 practice parties over 12 weeks. Main outcomes were physical activity (Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire), functional capacity (6 Minute Walk Test), QOL (SF-36), Couples' trust (Dyadic Trust Scale), and other dyadic outcomes. Exit interviews were completed by all participating couples.

Results: Thirty-one women survivors (68% breast cancer) and their partners participated. Survivors were 57.9 years old on average and 22.6% African American. Partners had similar characteristics. RHYTHM had significant positive effects on physical activity (p = 0.05), on the mental component of QOL (p = 0.04), on vitality (p = 0.03), and on the dyadic trust scale (p = 0.04). Couples expressed satisfaction with the intervention including appreciating the opportunity to spend time and exercise together. Survivors saw this light-intensity physical activity as easing them into becoming more physically active.

Conclusions: Light intensity ballroom dancing has the potential to improve cancer survivors' QOL. Larger trials are needed to build strong support for this ubiquitous and acceptable activity.

Implications for cancer survivors: Ballroom dance may be an important tool for cancer survivors to return to a physically active life and improve QOL and other aspects of their intimate life.

Keywords: Couples; Dance; Neoplasms; Physical activity; Quality of life; Survivors.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Dancing / psychology*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors