Prevalence, correlates, and psychosocial outcomes of sport participation in young adult cancer survivors

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Young adult cancer survivors (YACS) face unique challenges from their disease and treatments that may influence their sport participation choices as well as their psychosocial response.ObjectivesTo examine the prevalence, correlates, and psychosocial outcomes of sport participation in YACS.DesignA provincial, population-based mailed survey of 588 YACS in Alberta, Canada, was completed in May 2008 and included measures of sport participation, psychosocial health (depression, self-esteem, and stress), quality of life (QoL), and medical and demographic variables.ResultsOne third (32.5%) of YACS reported participating in a sport in the past month with the most common being golf (40.8%) and ice hockey (8.3%). YACS participating in sport reported an average frequency of 1.7 (SD = 1.0) days/week and an average duration of 119 min/session (SD = 68) for a total of 189 (SD = 164) min/week. Independent t-tests showed that YACS who participated in sport reported better psychosocial health and QoL including physical QoL (p < 0.001), mental QoL (p < 0.001), self-esteem (p < 0.001), depression (p < 0.001), and stress (p < 0.001). In multivariate regression analysis, 8.5% (p < 0.001) of the variance in sport participation was explained by being male (β = 0.17, p < 0.001), Caucasian (β = 0.15, p = 0.001), in better general health (β = 0.15, p < 0.001), and having a normal body mass index (β = −0.10, p = 0.024).Discussion/conclusionsSport participation is associated with better psychosocial health and QoL in YACS but only a third participated in the past month. Randomized controlled trials examining sport as an intervention strategy to increase physical activity and improve health outcomes in YACS are warranted.

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