Research Brief

A Retrospective, Cross-Sectional Study of Self-Reported Physical Activity and Depression Among Breast, Gynecologic, and Thoracic Cancer Survivors

Michelle D’Errico

Kristen L. Fessele
physical activity, depression, cancer survivors, exercise adherence, survivorship
ONF 2021, 48(1), 59-64. DOI: 10.1188/21.ONF.59-64

Objectives: To describe cancer survivors’ self-reported frequency and intensity of physical activity and depression.

Sample & Setting: 1,412 breast (n = 375), gynecologic (n = 369), and thoracic (n = 668) cancer survivors at an urban comprehensive cancer center between July 2017 and December 2018.

Methods & Variables: Attainment of recommended physical activity was assessed using the Godin-Shepard Leisure-Time Physical Activity Questionnaire, and depression was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-2 or PHQ-9. Abstracted characteristics, including age, sex, race, years since diagnosis, pain, body mass index, smoking, and marital and employment status, were also assessed.

Results: 872 patients were insufficiently active, and 105 patients reported some level of depression. Breast cancer survivors were significantly more likely to attain recommended activity levels than gynecologic or thoracic survivors. There was no intergroup difference in the incidence or severity of depression.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses working with survivors should assess physical activity and support patients to meet weekly exercise duration and intensity recommendations.

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