Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 1849–1858 | Cite as

Motorcycles and breast cancer: The influence of peer support and challenge on distress and posttraumatic growth

  • B. A. Morris
  • S. K. Chambers
  • M. Campbell
  • M. Dwyer
  • J. Dunn
Original Article



Peer support programs based on exercise or challenge activities may have potential to improve well-being for women diagnosed with breast cancer. The current study investigated the role of social comparison and social identity based on group membership on posttraumatic growth (PTG) and distress.


Fifty-one women diagnosed with breast cancer who participated in a 1,000 mi group motorcycle ride completed pre- and post-ride surveys. Participants had a mean age of 49.82 years (SD = 7.04) and their average time since diagnosis was 6.39 years (SD = 3.89).


Cancer-related distress significantly decreased after the ride. PTG did not significantly differ after the ride, which may have been a result of a ceiling effect on this measure. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that pre-ride PTG (p < 0.01) and upward social comparison during the ride (p < 0.05) were related to post-ride PTG. Pre-ride distress was the only variable to remain significantly related to post-ride distress (p < 0.01).


The results of the current study highlight the potential for challenge-based activities to provide a positive peer support environment for women diagnosed with breast cancer. Identifying factors that promote personal growth and reduce cancer-related distress allow us to create a model for the delivery of these challenge-based peer support activities.


Cancer Distress Posttraumatic growth Social comparison Social identity 



This project was funded by the Cancer Council Queensland. We thank all the Amazon Heart women who generously agreed to take part in this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. A. Morris
    • 1
    • 7
  • S. K. Chambers
    • 3
    • 2
  • M. Campbell
    • 4
  • M. Dwyer
    • 4
  • J. Dunn
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Viertel Centre for Research in Cancer Control, Cancer Council QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Griffith Health Institute, Griffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia
  4. 4.Amazon HeartBrisbaneAustralia
  5. 5.Medical Research, Griffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia
  6. 6.School of Social ScienceUniversity of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia
  7. 7.NHGRI Social and Behavioral Research BranchNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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