Conceptualizing and Measuring Physical Functioning in Cancer Survivorship Studies

Jill A. Bennett

Kerri Winters-Stone

Lillian M. Nail

ONF 2006, 33(1), 41-49. DOI: 10.1188/06.ONF.41-49

Purpose/Objectives: To propose a conceptual model to guide the design of intervention studies to improve physical functioning in cancer survivors.

Data Sources: Conceptualizations of physical functioning in people without cancer and exercise studies in breast cancer survivors.

Data Synthesis: Most exercise studies measured only one of three possible dimensions of physical functioning, and mediators seldom were tested.

Conclusions: Careful selection, naming, and measurement of physical functioning outcomes could maximize generation of new knowledge. More frequent testing of mediators could show how interventions affect physical functioning.

Implications for Nursing: Nurse scientists designing interventions to increase exercise, reduce symptoms, or manage side effects of treatment in cancer survivors are likely to measure physical functioning outcomes. Consistent measurement, terminology, and reporting of physical functioning outcomes in these studies will facilitate communication among nurse scientists and hasten translation of knowledge into clinical practice.

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