The group matters: an explorative study of group cohesion and quality of life in cancer patients participating in physical exercise intervention during treatment

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A series of studies have shown that physical activity improves cancer patients functional capacity and quality of life (QOL). Few of these studies have included physical exercise carried out in a group setting. However, patient's experience with the in-group processes remains unexplored. This study investigated group cohesion and changes in QOL in 55 cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy who participated in a 9 h weekly group exercise programme for 6 weeks. The study used a method triangulation component design. Seven qualitative group interviews were conducted post-intervention. QOL (SF-36; EORTC QLQ-C30) was assessed at baseline and after Week 6. The interviews revealed that group cohesion was an interim goal aimed to maximize peak performance potential by patients. Group cohesion was characterized by a special 'esprit de corps' and enabled the group members to feel like sport teams. The programme made purposeful togetherness possible while allowing the patients an opportunity to let their illness fade into the background. Questionnaire data showed significant improvements in mental health, social and emotional functioning. This study identified a conceptualization of group cohesion that forms a valuable basis for a larger randomized controlled trial to conclude whether the observed changes are a result of this specific intervention.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2006

ID: 81727