Effects of Acute Exercise on State Anxiety in Breast Cancer Survivors

Chris M. Blanchard

Kerry Courneya

Dot Laing

exercise, anxiety, breast cancer, cancer survivorship

Purpose/Objectives: To examine the effects of an acute bout of exercise on state anxiety in breast cancer survivors.

Design: A two-group (high and low state anxiety) by two-time (pre- and postexercise) mixed factorial design.

Setting: Exercise physiology lab at the University of Alberta.

Sample: 34 stage I or II breast cancer survivors ranging in age from 39-65 (mean = 50.5; SD = 6.62).

Methods: Participants completed the State Anxiety Inventory prior to and five minutes following an acute bout of exercise.

Main Research Variables: State anxiety.

Findings: A main effect resulted for group (p < 0.01) and time showing that state anxiety significantly decreased from pre- to postexercise (p < 0.03). Group by time interaction showed that state anxiety for the low state anxiety group did not change from pre- to postexercise (p > 0.05); however, state anxiety significantly decreased in the high state anxiety group (p < 0.03).

Conclusion: Acute exercise may be an effective intervention in reducing state anxiety in breast cancer survivors, especially those with high state anxiety.

Implications for Nursing Practice: Oncology nurses should be aware that in addition to other traditional anxiolytic therapies (e.g., relaxation therapy) commonly prescribed, acute exercise is an effective method for reducing state anxiety in breast cancer survivors.

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