Purpose/objectives: To examine determinants of exercise during colorectal cancer treatment using the theory of planned behavior.
Design: A retrospective survey.
Setting: Cancer Registry of Alberta, Canada.
Sample: Randomly selected survivors of colorectal cancer (N = 110) diagnosed between 1992 and 1995 who had undergone adjuvant therapy. Participants' ages ranged from 26 to 77 years (mean = 61 years; SD = 11), 63% were male, and 85% were disease stage II or III.
Methods: Initial open-ended elicitation questionnaire to determine salient beliefs, a mailed main questionnaire, a postcard reminder one week later, and a second questionnaire three weeks later. Exercise was assessed by the Godin Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire.
Main research variables: Exercise during cancer treatment, intention, perceived behavioral control, attitude, subjective norm, and salient beliefs.
Findings: Exercise during cancer treatment was determined by intention and perceived behavioral control. Intention was determined solely by attitude. Salient beliefs about exercise were different for patients with cancer as compared to a healthy population.
Conclusions: The theory of planned behavior may be a viable framework on which to base interventions to promote exercise in patients with colorectal cancer.
Implications for nursing practice: Oncology nurses need to have an understanding of motivational factors related to exercise during cancer treatment to be able to assist patients with cancer to initiate and maintain exercise.