Charles S. Carver

Fisher, H. M., Jacobs, J., Taub, C. J., Lechner, S., Lewis, J., Carver, C. S., Blomberg, B. B., & Antoni, M. H. (2017). How changes in physical activity relate to fatigue interference, mood, and quality of life during treatment for non-metastatic breast cancer. General Hospital Psychiatry, 49, 37-43.

Objective: Physical activity (PA) following surgery for breast cancer may improve depressive symptoms and quality of life (QoL) via reduction in fatigue-related daily interference (FRDI). Less is known about how changes in PA may relate to these psychosocial factors throughout the course of treatment. In a secondary analysis of a previous psychosocial intervention trial, we examined relationships between change in PA, depressive symptoms, and functional QoL, as mediated by changes in FRDI, and whether naturally occurring change in PA provided benefit independent of the intervention.

Method: Women (N=240) with non-metastatic stage 0-III breast cancer were randomized to Cognitive-Behavioral Stress Management (CBSM) or a control 2-10 weeks post-surgery. Physical activity, FRDI, clinician-rated depressive symptoms, self-reported depressed mood, and functional QoL were assessed at baseline and three months post-intervention.

Results: Increased physical activity was associated with reductions in clinician-rated depressive symptoms, depressed mood, and improved QoL, mediated by a reduction in FRDI. This was above and beyond the effect of CBSM.

Conclusions: Increased physical activity may mitigate FRDI and improve depressive symptoms and functional QoL for women undergoing breast cancer treatment, beyond effects of a psychosocial intervention. Benefits of an integrated physical activity and psychosocial approach should be investigated further.

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