A qualitative exploration of exercise motivation among colorectal cancer survivors: an application of the theory of planned behavior

Ji Yong Byeon, Mi Kyung Lee, Dong Hyuk Park, Su Jin Yeon, Sun Ha Jee, Chul Won Lee, Seung Yoon Yang, Nam Kyu Kim, Jeff Vallance, Kerry S. Courneya, Justin Y. Jeon

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative study was to use semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis to elicit key influencing factors (i.e., behavioral, normative, and control beliefs) related to physical activity and exercise in colorectal cancer survivors. Methods: Colorectal cancer survivors (N = 17) were recruited from exercise programs designed for colorectal cancer survivors at the Yonsei Cancer Center, Seoul, South Korea. A purposive sampling method was used. Interview questions were informed by the theory of planned behavior (TPB). Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted, and open-ended questions addressed the research question. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Participants were on average 2.2 years post-treatment. The mean age of the sample was 55.9 years. Key behavioral, normative, and control beliefs emerged in the data. For behavioral beliefs, colorectal cancer survivors believed that exercise would result in physical and psychological improvements, and improve their bowel problems. For normative beliefs, most colorectal cancer survivors wanted their oncologists’ approval for participation of exercise. Family members, more specifically the spouse, were also influencing factors for colorectal cancer survivors adopting physical activity. The most frequently mentioned control belief was that supervised exercise with an exercise specialist made exercise participation easier. Conclusions and implications: Beliefs identified in this study can inform TPB-based physical activity interventions tailored for colorectal cancer survivors. While information alone may not lead to behavior change, integrating these beliefs with other influential factors can potentially enhance intervention efficacy and promote physical activity in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number176
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar. 2024


  • Colorectal cancer survivors
  • Physical activity
  • Theory of planned behavior


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