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Young Adult Cancer Survivors, Physical Activity and Health Open Access


Other title
Young Adult Cancer
Quality of Life
Physical Activity
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Belanger, Lisa J
Supervisor and department
Courneya, Kerry Physical Education and Recreation
Examining committee member and department
Olson, Karin Faculty of Nursing
Mummery, Kerry Physical Education and Recreation
Courneya, Kerry Physical Education and Recreation
Rabin, Carolyn Behavioral & Preventive Medicine, Brown University
Clark, Alex Faculty of Nursing
Physical Education and Recreation

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The purpose of this dissertation was to identify the key preferences, determinants of physical activity (PA), and sports participation in young adult cancer survivors (YACS) and then use this information to develop a theory-based, PA behavior change intervention. To achieve this aim, my dissertation comprises of three studies. A cross-sectional survey designed to identify the preferences, determinants and sports association to PA in a population-based sample of 588 young adult cancer survivors. The majority of YACS indicated they were able and willing to participate in a program to increase PA, preferred to do PA with others, in their communities and receive information about PA 3-6 months post diagnosis by brochure/print material. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) explained 38% of variance with intention being the strongest independent correlate to PA. Planning, affective attitude, general health, education also had independent contributions. Perceived behavioral control (PBC) was the strongest predictor of intention. Approximately one third (32.5%) of YACS participated in sport in the last month with the most common reported sports: golf, hockey and tennis. Sport participation had a positive correlation to psychosocial variables and quality of life (QoL) scores. Based on these results and directed by the TPB a PA guidebook for YACS was developed and evaluated by experts in TPB, exercise oncology, health informatics, oncology, and YACS. These evaluations directed further changes to the guidebook. This guidebook (TPAG) was compared to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (CPAG) in a randomized control trial of 212 YACS. The TPAG did not increase PA minutes in the overall sample of YACS. Due to the very active sample, a separate analysis was conducted for YACS reporting less than 300 minutes of PA/week. At three months, the TPAG group reported a significant 90 minutes of PA/week more than the CPAG group. As predicted, the TPAG did not affect the TPB variables of the overall sample. The TPAG did however affect affective attitude, PBC and descriptive norms at three month follow up of YACS reporting less than 300 minutes of PA/week. Overall, the results suggest that the TPAG is superior to a generic PA recommendation to the less active YACS.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Belanger LJ, Plotnikoff RC, Clark A, Courneya KS. A survey of physical activity programming and counseling preferences in young adult cancer survivors. Cancer Nursing. 2012; 35(1):48-54.Belanger LJ, Plotnikoff RC, Clark A, Courneya KS. Determinants of physical activity in young adult cancer survivors. American Journal of Health Behavior. 2012; 36(4):483-94.Belanger LJ, Plotnikoff RC, Clark A, Courneya KS. Prevalence, correlates, and psychosocial outcomes of sport participation in young adult cancer survivors. 2013; 14(2):298-304.

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