Letting Go of Old Goals and Setting New Ones Can Boost Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors
Most people go through life setting goals for themselves. But what happens when a life-altering experience makes those goals become unachievable or even unhealthy?
A new collaborative study published in Psycho-Oncology by Carsten Wrosch of Concordia University's Department of Psychology and Centre for Research in Human Development and Catherine Sabiston of McGill's Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education and the Health Behavior and Emotion Lab found that breast cancer survivors who were able to let go of old goals and set new ones showed an improved well-being overall. Once the self-imposed pressure of now unrealistic goals was removed, individuals' quality of life improved, as did their level of physical activity.
Wrosch and Sabiston were interested in looking at how to encourage breast cancer survivors to become more active. Statistics show that as many as 48 per cent of breast cancer survivors are overweight or obese. They also tend to be more sedentary than women who have not been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The researchers studied 176 breast cancer survivors between the ages of 28 and 79, who were, on average, approximately 11 months past their diagnosis and close to three months post treatment. Self-reports of the individual's capacity to adjust their goals were measured at the start of the study. At the same time, researchers also measured self-reports of physical activity, sedentary activity, emotional well-being, and daily physical symptoms such as nausea and pain.