A Study of Exercise Modality and Physical Self-esteem in Breast Cancer Survivors

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PurposeThis study, theoretically based on the Exercise Self-Esteem Model, EXSEM, examined effects of exercise modality on physical and global self-esteem (PSE, GSE) in breast cancer survivors. The EXSEM posits GSE at the apex with PSE feeding into GSE. PSE has three subdomains: physical condition (PC), attractive body (AB), and physical strength (PS). The goals were to compare the effect of combination modality versus single-modality exercise on PSE and GSE and to explore the relationship between exercise modality and the subdomains of PSE.MethodsSurvivors were randomly allocated to flexibility (F), aerobic (A), resistance (R), or aerobic plus resistance (AR), 12-wk, individualized, home-based exercise program. Pre/posttesting included submaximal treadmill test, six-repetition maximum chest press and leg press, YMCA bench press, shoulder/hip flexibility, and bioelectric impedance analysis body composition. Esteem measures were the Physical Self-Perception Profile and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale.ResultsForty-two women completed the study (F = 12, A = 10, R = 9, and AR = 11). Fitness improvements congruent with exercise modality were seen in all groups. PSE and GSE outcomes did not reveal a greater effect from the combination modality program, AR, compared with the single-modality programs A and R. The relationships between the single-modality groups and the subdomains of PC, PS, and AB were supported in the R group (PS and AB increased) and were partially supported in the A group (PC, not AB, increased).ConclusionsA single-modality R program significantly improved all domains of PSE, and participation in the A program improved the PC subdomain. The combination exercise program did not enhance PSE greater than the single-modality programs. EXSEM was a useful framework for exploring esteem in breast cancer survivors.

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