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Support Care Cancer. 2008 Jan;16(1):9-17. Epub 2007 Jun 15.

Medical, demographic, and psychosocial correlates of exercise in colorectal cancer survivors: an application of self-determination theory.

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  • 1Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, E-488 Van Vliet Center, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.



The purpose of the present study was to evaluate medical, demographic, and psychosocial correlates of exercise in colorectal cancer survivors (CRC-S) using self-determination theory (SDT).


Participants were 414 CRC-S who completed a mailed survey that assessed self-reported exercise, medical and demographic variables, and SDT constructs consisting of behavioral regulation for exercise, psychological needs satisfaction in exercise (PNSE), and perceived autonomy support (PAS).


CRC-S with less education were significantly less likely to meet exercise guidelines (21 vs 31%; p < 0.001). Path analysis indicated that SDT and education explained 16% of the variance in exercise behavior with identified regulation (beta = 0.17, p = 0.031), introjected regulation (beta = 0.14, p = 0.006), and education (beta = 0.16, p < 0.001) each making a significant independent contribution.


Few medical and demographic factors are correlates of regular exercise in CRC-S, but SDT provided a good understanding of exercise behavior in this population. Exercise behavior change interventions incorporating principles of SDT may have utility for promoting exercise and improving outcomes in this important population of cancer survivors.

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