Physical activity, self-efficacy and self-esteem in breast cancer survivors: a panel model

Elizabeth A. Awick, Siobhan M. Phillips, Gillian R. Lloyd, Edward McAuley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Physical activity (PA) has been consistently associated with improved self-esteem in breast cancer survivors. However, this relationship is poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to examine whether changes in PA and self-efficacy influenced changes in self-esteem in breast cancer survivors across 6 months. Increases in PA were hypothesized to result in increases in self-efficacy, which were hypothesized to influence increases in physical self-worth (PSW) and global self-esteem. Methods: Breast cancer survivors (n = 370; Mage = 56.04) wore accelerometers to measure PA and completed measures of self-efficacy (e.g., exercise and barriers self-efficacy), PSW, and global self-esteem at baseline and 6 months. Results: The hypothesized model provided a good fit to the data (χ2 = 67.56, df = 26, p < 0.001; comparative fit index (CFI) = 0.98; standardized root mean residual = 0.05). Women with higher activity at baseline reported significantly higher levels of barrier (β = 0.29) and exercise (β = 0.23) self-efficacy. In turn, more efficacious women reported significantly higher PSW (β = 0.26, 0.16). Finally, higher PSW was significantly associated with greater global self-esteem (β = 0.47). Relationships were similar among changes in model constructs over 6 months. After controlling for covariates, the hypothesized model provided an excellent fit to the data (χ2 = 59.93, df = 33, p = 0.003; comparative fit index = 0.99; standardized root mean residual = 0.03). Conclusion: Our findings provide support for the role played by PA and self-efficacy in positive self-esteem, a key component of well-being. Highlighting successful PA mastery experiences is likely to enhance self-efficacy and improve self-esteem in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1625-1631
Number of pages7
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • cancer
  • oncology
  • physical activity
  • self-efficacy
  • self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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