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Psychol Sport Exerc. 2011 Jan 1;12(1):27-35.

Design of the Steps to Health Study of Physical Activity in Survivors of Endometrial Cancer: Testing a Social Cognitive Theory Model.

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Department of Behavioral Science, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.


Physical activity has been shown to benefit cancer survivors' physical functioning, emotional well-being, and symptoms. Physical activity may be of particular benefit to survivors of endometrial cancer because they are more likely to be obese and sedentary than the general population, as these are risk factors for the disease, and thus experience a number of related co-morbid health problems. However, there is little research systematically studying mechanisms of physical activity adherence in cancer survivor populations. This paper describes the design of the Steps to Health study, which applies a Social Cognitive Theory-based model of endometrial cancer survivors' adoption and maintenance of exercise in the context of an intervention to increase walking or other moderate intensity cardiovascular activity. In Steps to Health we will test the influence of self-efficacy and outcome expectations on adherence to exercise recommendations, as well as studying the determinants of self-efficacy. Endometrial cancer survivors who are at least 6 months post-treatment are provided with an intervention involving print materials and telephone counseling, and complete assessments of fitness, activity, self-efficacy and outcome expectations, and determinants of self-efficacy every two months for a six month period. In addition to testing an innovative model, the Steps to Health study employs multiple assessment methods, including ecological momentary assessment, implicit tests of cognitive variables, and ambulatory monitoring of physical activity. The study results can be used to develop more effective interventions for increasing physical activity in sedentary cancer survivors by taking into account the full complement of sources of self-efficacy information and outcome expectations.

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