Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy




College of Science & Mathematics


Roberta DiHoff, PhD.

Committee Member 1

Lisa Abrams, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Danielle Arigo, Ph.D.

Committee Member 3

Jim Haugh, Ph.D.

Committee Member 4

Helen Polak, Psy.D.


Cancer; Exercise; Sex differences




Background: Few studies have addressed the relationship between an individual's type of experience with cancer and its relationship with physical activity (PA). Furthermore, studies have not addressed gender and risk perception's ability to moderate the relationship between cancer experience and physical activity. To address this gap in understanding modifiable factors that might help or hinder PA levels, the overarching goal of this study is to: (a) estimate the degree to which an individual's experience of cancer effects PA levels, (b) determine how strongly gender moderates the relationship between the experience of cancer and PA levels, and (c) determine how strongly risk perception moderates the relationship between the experience of cancer and PA levels. Design: The data was gathered from items in the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS5), which is a nationally representative survey conducted by the National Cancer Institute (NCI, 2017). Results: One major finding of this study is that personal experiences with cancer had a significant relation with PA. Conclusions: In this particular sample, an individual's gender or risk perception did not increase physical activity levels, but it has been shown in other studies to increase preventive behaviors, such as PA (Wang & Coups, 2010). These results can lead to finding strategies and/or interventions to increase an individual's motivation to engage in physical activity.

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