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Health Psychol Rev. 2009 May 1;4(1):22-41.

Group vs. individual exercise interventions for women with breast cancer: a meta-analysis.

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Stony Brook University, Psychology, Stony Brook, 11794-2500 United States.



Both during and after treatment, cancer survivors experience declines in physical and psychosocial quality of life (QoL). Prior research indicates that exercise interventions alleviate problems in physical functioning and some aspects of psychological functioning. For survivors seeking social support, exercise programs that are conducted in group settings may foster optimal QoL improvement (by addressing additional issues related to isolation, social support) over individually-based exercise programs.


We reviewed literature on group cohesion in exercise studies, and conducted a meta-analysis to test the hypothesis that group as compared to individual exercise interventions for breast cancer survivors would show greater improvement in QoL.


As currently implemented, group exercise interventions showed no advantage. However, they typically did not provide any evidence that they capitalized upon potentially beneficial group processes.


Future exercise intervention studies could investigate the effect on QoL of deliberately using group dynamics processes, such as team building experiences and group goal setting to foster group cohesion.

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