Correlates of light physical activity among cancer survivors

Psychooncology. 2019 Apr;28(4):726-734. doi: 10.1002/pon.5008. Epub 2019 Feb 18.


Objective: Emerging evidence demonstrates the positive health benefits of light physical activity (LPA) for cancer survivors. Yet, little research has explored modifiable factors that facilitate or hinder LPA behavior in this population. Correlates of LPA among cancer survivors were examined, and stratified by moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) status.

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis using the American Cancer Society's Studies of Cancer Survivors-I (N = 1751) was conducted. Correlates of interest were health-care provider support for physical activity, perceived health competence, perceived social support, unsupportive partner behaviors, and perceived susceptibility to cancer recurrence. The primary outcome was self-reported LPA categorized at 0, 1-59, 60-119, and 120+ minutes per week. Multivariable ordinal regressions using forced entry were conducted, stratified by MVPA status.

Results: Adjusted multivariable models revealed that, among those reporting no MVPA (n = 757), greater provider support for physical activity (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.51; 95% CI, 1.05-2.17; P = 0.03), greater perceived health competence (aOR = 1.44; 95% CI, 1.10-1.88; P = 0.01), and greater unsupportive partner behaviors (aOR = 1.06; 95% CI, 1.01-1.12; P = 0.03) were significantly correlated with higher LPA. No social cognitive constructs were correlated with LPA among those already engaging in MVPA (n = 994).

Conclusions: LPA interventions targeting cancer survivors not engaging in any MVPA are warranted and may optimize limited intervention resources. Furthermore, interventions may be more efficacious by applying behavior change techniques that incorporate health-care provider support and improves health competence and positive interpersonal skills.

Keywords: American Cancer Society (MeSH); activity (MeSH); cancer; cancer survivor; exercise (MeSH); leisure activities (MeSH); neoplasm (MeSH); oncology; physical; social cognitive theory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cancer Survivors / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Self Report
  • Social Support*