Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Paul B. Jacobsen


health behavior, intention, physical activity


The population of cancer survivors is rapidly expanding, and promotion of health and quality of life for these individuals is a priority. Exercise confers numerous general and cancer–specific benefits, yet many cancer survivors are insufficiently active. Research on perceived exercise barriers in cancer survivors has been limited by methodological and conceptual problems. Recent research suggests barriers may be multi–dimensional, and different types of barriers may be salient depending on whether or not a person intends to engage in a given behavior. Global (i.e., abstract) barriers may be negatively associated with intention, while practical (i.e., concrete) barriers may be positively associated with intention. The present study aimed to examine the utility of a multi–dimensional conceptualization of exercise barriers in cancer survivors and to develop an exercise barriers scale for this population. Participants were 170 breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer survivors (mean age = 60 years, 67% female) who had completed treatment 6–36 months before the study. The study was conducted online in a survey that included measures assessing current exercise behavior, perceived exercise benefits, exercise intention, and exercise barriers. Factor analysis of the exercise barriers measure revealed five factors, which were further condensed into global, practical, and health factors. Total barriers and global barriers negatively predicted exercise intention (ρs < 0.001); practical and health barriers did not predict intention (ρs > 0.05). Accounting for relevant demographic variables and current exercise behavior, total barriers and global barriers contributed significant amounts of unique variance in exercise intention (4% and 7% respectively); however, when perceived benefits were included, only global barriers remained significant. These findings suggest that multi–dimensional conceptualizations of health behavior barriers are worthy of further study and that global barriers may be an important target for interventions designed to increase intention.