Peer support for physical activity adoption among breast cancer survivors: Do the helped resemble the helpers?

M. M. DeMello, B. M. Pinto, S. Mitchell, S. I. Dunsiger, K. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Interventions offering peer mentoring programmes promoting moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) have shown improvements in MVPA and well-being from baseline; however, research is limited. The purpose of this study was to compare the physical activity (PA) levels and psychosocial well-being of coaches and participants at baseline and following a 12-week intervention. Breast cancer survivors (<5 years) were recruited and randomised into either exercise (Reach-to-Recovery (RTR) + PA) or control (RTR Control). Participants in both groups were individually assigned one of the 18 available coaches who delivered either the MVPA intervention or the control condition via telephone. PA (7-Day PA Recall), psychosocial well-being, fatigue and mood were assessed at baseline and intervention completion. Seventy-six breast cancer survivors (average age = 55.62 (±9.55)) were randomised. At baseline, all participants showed significantly lower MVPA (p =.001) and well-being (p <.05) as compared to coaches. However, post-intervention showed significant improvement in PA and well-being in RTR + PA, so that they were no longer significantly different from the coaches. Post-intervention, MVPA (p <.01), quality of life (p <.05) and fatigue (p <.05) remained significantly lower in RTR Controls compared to coaches. Future interventions should consider the behavioural patterns not only of the participants, but also of those who deliver the interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12849
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • breast cancer survivors
  • coaches
  • peer mentoring
  • physical activity
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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