Perceived Exercise Barriers and Facilitators Among Ethnically Diverse Breast Cancer Survivors

Denise Spector

Claudio Battaglini

Diane Groff

exercise, cultural aspects, breast cancer survivors
ONF 2013, 40(5), 472-480. DOI: 10.1188/13.ONF.472-480

Purpose/Objectives: To determine whether women with breast cancer were meeting current physical activity recommendations and to describe perceptions of exercise self-efficacy, exercise benefits and barriers, and perceptions of environmental supports for physical activity by race or ethnicity.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Community wellness workshops held in various locations in central and eastern North Carolina.

Sample: 65 breast cancer survivors in treatment or post-treatment. Caucasian women comprised 46% of the sample followed by African Americans (34%) and Hispanics/Latinas (16%).

Methods: Descriptive statistics were used to determine the percentage of women meeting physical activity guidelines and for comparing exercise-related perceptions. Spearman's rho correlation coefficient tests were conducted to identify associations between physical activity and exercise-related perceptions.

Main Research Variables: Physical activity, perceived exercise self-efficacy, exercise barriers, and benefits.

Findings: Hispanic/Latina women were least likely to meet physical activity recommendations. Hispanic/Latina women were more likely than Caucasian and African American women to report lack of enjoyment from exercise, lack of knowledge on how to exercise, feeling self-conscious because of looks, and discouragement as exercise barriers.

Conclusions: In a sociocultural context, exercise beliefs need to be considered in the development of culturally responsive exercise interventions that may enhance the health of breast cancer survivors.

Implications for Nursing: Considering the increasing number of breast cancer survivors from diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds, a need exists for culturally competent nursing interventions aimed at increasing exercise. When educating breast cancer survivors, nurses should address sociocultural factors that may hinder or facilitate engagement in exercise.

Knowledge Translation: Most women were not meeting physical activity recommendations, particularly Hispanic/Latina women. Perceptions of exercise-related beliefs differed, although not significantly, across racial and ethnic groups. More perceived exercise barriers existed for Hispanic/Latina women compared to Caucasian and African American women, which may indicate sociocultural differences.

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