Less than 20% of cancer survivors meet recommended physical activity (PA) guidelines. Research reporting positive impact of social support on PA in cancer survivors has not included their caregivers' PA. A review of the literature examining social support and PA in cancer survivors supported including caregivers in developing strategies to increase PA in cancer survivors. The purposes of this study were: (1) to explore the differences and relationships between adult cancer survivors' and caregivers' social support, self-efficacy for physical activity (SEPA), PA, and quality of life (QOL), and (2) understand cancer survivors and caregivers' perception of social support in PA participation. A quasi-experimental design, guided by Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory, was used to explore the differences and relationships between variables in a sample of 101 cancer survivors and caregivers. Mann-Whitney U Test revealed that physical QOL was significantly higher in caregivers (Mdn = 60.38, n = 38) than cancer survivors (Mdn = 39.75, n = 57), U = 612, z = -3.57, p = .000, r = 0.37). Spearman's rho identified a negative relationship between physical QOL and PA, r = -.31, n = 56, p = .011 in cancer survivors; and a significant relationship between PA and social support from friend PA participation, r = .45, n = 33, p = .004 in caregivers. Responses to open-ended questions revealed that cancer survivors and caregivers rely on their social support to encourage and motivate them to participate in PA. These findings suggest priority should be given to strategies that encourage PA in both cancer survivors and their caregivers.

Date of publication

Fall 12-4-2012

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Included in

Nursing Commons