Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 9–17 | Cite as

Medical, demographic, and psychosocial correlates of exercise in colorectal cancer survivors: an application of self-determination theory

  • Carolyn J. Peddle
  • Ronald C. Plotnikoff
  • T. Cameron Wild
  • Heather-Jane Au
  • Kerry S. Courneya
Original Article



The purpose of the present study was to evaluate medical, demographic, and psychosocial correlates of exercise in colorectal cancer survivors (CRC-S) using self-determination theory (SDT).


Participants were 414 CRC-S who completed a mailed survey that assessed self-reported exercise, medical and demographic variables, and SDT constructs consisting of behavioral regulation for exercise, psychological needs satisfaction in exercise (PNSE), and perceived autonomy support (PAS).


CRC-S with less education were significantly less likely to meet exercise guidelines (21 vs 31%; p < 0.001). Path analysis indicated that SDT and education explained 16% of the variance in exercise behavior with identified regulation (β = 0.17, p = 0.031), introjected regulation (β = 0.14, p = 0.006), and education (β = 0.16, p < 0.001) each making a significant independent contribution.


Few medical and demographic factors are correlates of regular exercise in CRC-S, but SDT provided a good understanding of exercise behavior in this population. Exercise behavior change interventions incorporating principles of SDT may have utility for promoting exercise and improving outcomes in this important population of cancer survivors.


Colorectal cancer survivors Physical activity Self-determination theory 



This project was funded by the University of Alberta–Social Sciences Research Grant Program. Ms. Peddle is supported by a Full Time Health Research Studentship from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. Dr. Courneya is supported by the Canada Research Chairs Program and a Research Team Grant from the National Cancer Institute of Canada with funds from the Canadian Cancer Society and the Sociobehavioral Cancer Research Network. Dr. Plotnikoff and Wild are supported by Health Scholar Awards from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and New Investigator Awards from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. We would also like to thank the staff at the Alberta Cancer Registry staff for their assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn J. Peddle
    • 1
  • Ronald C. Plotnikoff
    • 1
    • 2
  • T. Cameron Wild
    • 2
  • Heather-Jane Au
    • 3
  • Kerry S. Courneya
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Physical Education and RecreationUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Center for Health Promotion Studies, School of Public HealthUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Division of Medical Oncology, Department of OncologyCross Cancer InstituteEdmontonCanada

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