Breast cancer survivors’ motivation to perform preventive health behaviors: An application of the protection motivation theory. Meeting Abstract (Web of Science)


  • 251 Background: Little is known about what motivates breast cancer survivors to engage in preventive health behaviors to prevent recurrence of breast cancer. The primary objective was to assess how survivors’ fear of recurrence, spirituality, and perceptions of risk and coping appraisal were associated with their motivation to perform healthy lifestyle and cancer screening behaviors. Methods: A reliable and valid questionnaire was developed. An a priori power analysis indicated that a minimum of 386 completed surveys were needed for adequate statistical power. Based on an estimated 50% return rate, the investigators randomly selected a state-wide sample of 800 survivors from Ohio. A 3-wave mailing was used to increase response rate. Results: 559 surveys were completed (72%). Respondents with higher perceived risks of recurrence were more motivated to perform healthy lifestyle behaviors than those with lower perceived risks (t=2.51, df=521, p=.039). Most (>70%) agreed that healthy lifestyle behaviors such as regular exercise reduce one’s risk of recurrence. Only 43% exercised regularly. Only 54% reported their doctor discussed how to reduce the risk of recurrence. Survivors who were satisfied with their physician’s communication exercised more regularly than those who were not satisfied (chi-square =13.09, p=.016, df=5). Cancer survivors with a high level of motivation and high level of behavioral intentions were more likely to be engaging in preventive health and cancer screening behaviors. Higher levels of spirituality were positively correlated with a higher level of motivation to engage in preventive health behaviors (r=.345, n=468, p<0.001). Conclusions: This study provides strong evidence that the Protection-Motivation Theory (PMT) helps to explain certain factors that impact survivors’ motivation and behavioral intentions to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviors and follow up screening tests. When developing programs for breast cancer survivors, health professionals should consider incorporating spirituality, fear of recurrence, and the constructs of the PMT.


publication date

  • 2011

published in

number of pages

  • 1

start page

  • 251

end page

  • 251


  • 29


  • 27_suppl