Demonstration and manifestation of self-determination and illness resistance: a qualitative study of long-term maintenance of physical activity in posttreatment cancer survivors

Julie Midtgaard, Kasper Rossell, Jesper Frank Christensen, Jacob Uth, Lis Adamsen, Mikael Rorth

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftsartikelForskningpeer review


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to describe posttreatment cancer survivors' lived experience of long-term maintenance of physical activity (PA). METHODS: A qualitative, salutogenetic-oriented study was conducted based on four audiotaped, semistructured focus group interviews. Interviewee selection was carried out through purposeful sampling. Twenty-three cancer survivors (17 women and 6 men; median age 50 years, range 29-70) who were physically inactive prior to their diagnosis but who had been exercising regularly for a minimum of 18 months posttreatment participated in the study. The participants were recruited from The Copenhagen PACT Study that evaluated the effect of a one-year rehabilitation program (supervised exercise [weekly], expert lectures [trimonthly], in-group coaching [bimonthly] and individual coaching [3 x 1 h]). Data were analyzed by use of systematic condensation analysis inspired by Giorgi's descriptive phenomenological methodology (see Sketch of a psychological phenomenological method, in: Giorgi A (ed.), Phenomenology and Psychological Research, Duquesne University Press, Pittsburgh, 1985). RESULTS: The analysis revealed five categories, which were summarized into an overall sentence describing the essence of long-term PA maintenance in cancer survivors: demonstration and manifestation of self-determination and illness resistance. In sum, the participants described regular PA as a prerequisite for feeling and staying well and preserving and pursuing own potentials whereby PA maintenance becomes a goal in itself. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that cancer survivors' continued motivation for PA may be dependent on the fulfillment of a personal and conscious experience of being in the process of creating and living a comprehensible and meaningful life. Future theory-based interventions to encourage PA maintenance in cancer survivors could potentially benefit by integration of humanistic and existential psychology in addition to social cognitive theory and theory of planned behavior
TidsskriftSupportive Care in Cancer
Udgave nummer9
Sider (fra-til)1999-2008
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 2012
Udgivet eksterntJa