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Publication Detail
Assessment of Cancer Survivors? Experiences of Using a Publicly Available Physical Activity Mobile Application
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Puszkiewicz P, Roberts LA, Smith L, Wardle J, Fisher A
  • Publication date:
    31/05/2016
  • Pagination:
    e7
  • Journal:
    JMIR Cancer
  • Volume:
    2
  • Issue:
    1
  • Keywords:
    cancer survivors, mobile applications, mHealth, physical activity, sleep
  • Notes:
    Background: Regular participation in physical activity (PA) is associated with improved physical and psychosocial outcomes in cancer survivors. However, PA levels are low during and after cancer treatment. Interventions to promote PA in this population are needed. PA mobile apps are popular and have potential to increase PA participation, but little is known about how appropriate or relevant they are for cancer survivors. Objective: This study aims to (1) assess recruitment, study uptake, and engagement for a publicly available PA mobile app (GAINFitness) intervention in cancer survivors; (2) assess cancer survivors? attitudes towards the app; (3) understand how the app could be adapted to better meet the needs of cancer survivors; and (4) to determine the potential for change in PA participation and psychosocial outcomes over a 6-week period of using the app. Methods: The present study was a one-arm, pre-post design. Cancer survivors (N=11) aged 33 to 62 years with a mean (SD) age of 45 (9.4), and 82% (9/11) female, were recruited (via community/online convenience sampling to use the app for 6 weeks). Engagement with the app was measured using self-reported frequency and duration of usage. Qualitative semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted after the 6-week study period and were analyzed using thematic analysis. PA, well-being, fatigue, quality of life (QOL), sleep quality, and anxiety and depression were self-reported at baseline and at a 6-week follow-up using the Godin Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire (GLTEQ), the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G), the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT)-Fatigue Scale Questionnaire, the Health and Quality of Life Outcomes (EQ5D) Questionnaire, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), respectively. Results: Of the people who responded to the study advertisement, 73% (16/22) agreed to participate and 100% (11/11) of the participants who started the study completed all baseline and follow-up outcome measures and the telephone interview. On average, participants used the app twice a week for 25 minutes per session. Four themes were identified from the qualitative interviews surrounding the suitability of the app for cancer survivors and how it could be adapted: (1) barriers to PA, (2) receiving advice about PA from reliable sources, (3) tailoring the application to one?s lifestyle, and (4) receiving social support from others. Pre-post comparison showed significant increases in strenuous PA, improvements in sleep quality, and reductions in mild PA. There were no significant changes in moderate PA or other psychosocial outcomes. Conclusions: All participants engaged with the app and qualitative interviews highlighted that the app was well-received. A generic PA mobile app could bring about positive improvements in PA participation and psychosocial outcomes among cancer survivors. However, a targeted PA app aimed specifically towards cancer survivors may increase the relevance and suitability of the app for this population.
Abstract
Background: Regular participation in physical activity (PA) is associated with improved physical and psychosocial outcomes in cancer survivors. However, PA levels are low during and after cancer treatment. Interventions to promote PA in this population are needed. PA mobile apps are popular and have potential to increase PA participation, but little is known about how appropriate or relevant they are for cancer survivors. Objective: This study aims to (1) assess recruitment, study uptake, and engagement for a publicly available PA mobile app (GAINFitness) intervention in cancer survivors; (2) assess cancer survivors? attitudes towards the app; (3) understand how the app could be adapted to better meet the needs of cancer survivors; and (4) to determine the potential for change in PA participation and psychosocial outcomes over a 6-week period of using the app. Methods: The present study was a one-arm, pre-post design. Cancer survivors (N=11) aged 33 to 62 years with a mean (SD) age of 45 (9.4), and 82% (9/11) female, were recruited (via community/online convenience sampling to use the app for 6 weeks). Engagement with the app was measured using self-reported frequency and duration of usage. Qualitative semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted after the 6-week study period and were analyzed using thematic analysis. PA, well-being, fatigue, quality of life (QOL), sleep quality, and anxiety and depression were self-reported at baseline and at a 6-week follow-up using the Godin Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire (GLTEQ), the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G), the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT)-Fatigue Scale Questionnaire, the Health and Quality of Life Outcomes (EQ5D) Questionnaire, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), respectively. Results: Of the people who responded to the study advertisement, 73% (16/22) agreed to participate and 100% (11/11) of the participants who started the study completed all baseline and follow-up outcome measures and the telephone interview. On average, participants used the app twice a week for 25 minutes per session. Four themes were identified from the qualitative interviews surrounding the suitability of the app for cancer survivors and how it could be adapted: (1) barriers to PA, (2) receiving advice about PA from reliable sources, (3) tailoring the application to one?s lifestyle, and (4) receiving social support from others. Pre-post comparison showed significant increases in strenuous PA, improvements in sleep quality, and reductions in mild PA. There were no significant changes in moderate PA or other psychosocial outcomes. Conclusions: All participants engaged with the app and qualitative interviews highlighted that the app was well-received. A generic PA mobile app could bring about positive improvements in PA participation and psychosocial outcomes among cancer survivors. However, a targeted PA app aimed specifically towards cancer survivors may increase the relevance and suitability of the app for this population.
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