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Psychosocial Outcomes of Sport Participation in Young Adult Cancer Survivors

Key Message

Young adult cancer survivors that participated in sports had better psychosocial outcomes including improved physical and mental quality of life, higher self-esteem, lower depression and stress rates.


Belanger, Lisa J., et al. (2012). Prevalence, Correlates, and Psychosocial Outcomes of Sport Participation in Young Adult Cancer Survivors. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 14(2): 298–304. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2012.10.010


Young adult cancer survivors (YACS) face unique challenges from their disease and treatments that may influence their sport participation choices as well as their psychosocial response.

The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence, correlates, and psychosocial outcomes of sport participation in YACS.

A provincial, population-based mailed survey of 588 YACS in Alberta, Canada, was completed in May, 2008 and included measures of sport participation, psychosocial health (depression, self-esteem, and stress), quality of life (QoL), and medical and demographic variables



One third (32.5%) of YACS reported participating in a sport in the past month with the most common being golf (40.8%) and ice hockey (8.3%). YACS participating in sport reported an average frequency of 1.7 (SD=1.0) days/week and an average duration of 119 minutes/session (SD=68) for a total of 189 (SD=164) minutes/week. Independent t-tests showed that YACS who participated in sport reported better psychosocial health and QoL including physical QoL (p<.001), mental QoL (p<.001), self-esteem (p<.001), depression (p<.001), and stress (p<.001). In multivariate regression analysis, 8.5% (p<0.001) of the variance in sport participation was explained by being male (β=.17; p<0.001), Caucasian (β=.15, p=0.001), in better general health (β=.15 p<0.001), and having a normal body mass index (β=-.10 p=0.024).

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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