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Group-based exercise interventions for increasing physical activity in cancer survivors: a systematic review of face-to-face randomized and non-randomized trials

  • Heather J. LeachEmail author
  • Scherezade K. Mama
  • Samantha M. Harden
Review Article

Abstract

Purpose

To increase physical activity (PA), interventions based on group dynamics may be superior to interventions that target aggregates of people but do not have formal strategies to enhance cohesion. This review examined the extent to which group dynamics processes have been integrated within exercise and/or PA interventions in cancer survivors, and explored the implementation and effectiveness of these interventions for increasing PA.

Methods

A systematic review was conducted of English articles published January 2005–March 13, 2017 using the electronic databases PsycINFO, CINAHL, and PubMed Medline (National Library of Medicine). Studies in adult cancer survivors that had a controlled or uncontrolled experimental design, included face-to-face exercise, had a group-based component, and reported PA pre- and post-intervention were included. Self-reported PA effect sizes were estimated for pre- to post-intervention, separately for studies that implemented ≥ 1 group dynamics strategy versus none.

Results

Twenty-three studies were reviewed, 34.8% (n = 8) included ≥ 1 group dynamics strategy (M = 1.6 ± 0.7, range = 1–3). Most interventions were delivered in a healthcare or rehabilitation setting by an exercise professional, and face-to-face exercise dose ranged from 72.0–6000.0 min. PA effect size ranged from 0.3–1.2 for studies that implemented ≥ 1 group dynamics strategy versus 0.4–2.4 for those with none. Studies reviewed lacked detailed examples of group dynamics strategies, and none measured group cohesion.

Conclusions

The additional benefit of group dynamics–based interventions for increasing PA in cancer survivors remains unclear. More research is needed to enhance the generalizability of face-to-face exercise interventions, and determine how to maximize the potential of including group dynamics strategies.

Keywords

Physical activity Intervention studies Group structure Cancer survivor 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather J. Leach
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Scherezade K. Mama
    • 3
  • Samantha M. Harden
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Health and Exercise ScienceColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Department of Community and Behavioral HealthColorado School of Public Health at Colorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  3. 3.Department of KinesiologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA
  4. 4.Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and ExerciseVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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