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Impact of physical activity on mental health of women recovering from breast cancer

Grant number: 19/22350-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2020
Effective date (End): September 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Cognitive Psychology
Principal Investigator:Ricardo da Costa Padovani
Grantee:Carolina Bernardi de Souza
Host Institution: Instituto de Saúde e Sociedade (ISS). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Baixada Santista. Santos , SP, Brazil


The diagnosis of breast cancer has a significant impact on a woman's life. In addition to the physical symptoms and social representations which are common to any type of cancer, women diagnosed with breast cancer deal with specific fears, which are related to the symbolic meanings of the breasts, that is, female identity and sexuality. Understanding breast cancer as a stressful event that promotes physical, mental and social suffering, it has affected the mental health of women's affected, being linked to high levels of anxiety and depression. Given this scenario, physical activity emerges as a possible coping resource and mental health promoting practice for women with breast cancer. The present study aims to investigate the impact of regular physical activity on the mental health of women recovering from breast cancer. The methodological approach will be quantitative and qualitative. Eight women recovering from breast cancer will participate in the study. The participants will answer to a semi-structured interview and to a stress, anxiety and depression symptoms investigation scale (DASS-21-Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale - short form). The material collected in the interviews will be analyzed from the emerged contents of the aprioristic categories listed in the guiding questions of the interview script. DASS-21 quantitative data will be analyzed descriptively. It is believed that the results from this study may broaden the understanding of the importance of physical activity in promoting the mental health of women recovering from breast cancer. (AU)

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