Blacklock, R., Rhodes, R., Blanchard, C., & Gaul, C. (2010). Effects of exercise intensity and self-efficacy on state anxiety with breast cancer survivors. Oncology Nursing Forum, 37, 206–212.doi: 10.1188/10.ONF.206-212
To determine if acute exercise reduces state anxiety in breast cancer survivors
Participants recruited were randomly assigned to a light or moderate intensity group and were asked to complete both moderate and light intensity exercise on two different days. Exercise sessions were done by cycling. Prior to exercise, questionnaires for anxiety and self-efficacy were completed. Participants cycled for 20 minutes, staying with standardized heart rate ranges as defined for light and moderate intensity. Questionnaires were repeated after each exercise session following an eight-minute rest.
The study has clinical applicability for late effects and survivorship.
A randomized, experimental, repeated-measures design was used.
There were no differences between day 1 and 2 for anxiety and self-efficacy. Repeated measures ANOVA on anxiety showed a main effect for time (p < 0.01), with anxiety decreasing across the time of exercise. The intensity of the exercise was not significant. There were no differences between breast cancer survivors and others. Self-efficacy measures showed a main effect for time (p < 0.01), but no differences between breast cancer survivors and others or between exercise intensities. Breast cancer survivors and others reported similar pre-exercise state anxiety levels. There was a significant reciprocal relationship between self-efficacy and state anxiety both pre- and post-exercise (p < 0.05).
Exercise appears to have a short-term effect in reducing anxiety and increasing perception of self-efficacy.
Studies with longer-term exercise interventions and in participants with higher levels of anxiety may be helpful in exploring these issues. Long-term findings suggest that the specific approach to management of anxiety during the cancer diagnostic phase does not appear to significantly impact anxiety and depression in women with low-risk abnormal findings. The timing of depression might suggest that extended follow-up after diagnostic testing and treatment may be associated with depression for some women. Which of the strategies examined here offer the best balance between benefits and harms is a matter of continuing debate.