Longitudinal Benefits of Wellness Coaching Interventions for Cancer Survivors

By Mary Louise Galantino, Pam Schmid, Anthony Milos, Sheila Leonard, Stasia Botis, Courtney Dagan, William Albert, Janet Teixeira and Jun Mao.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Purpose: To evaluate the immediate and longitudinal impact of 6 Wellness Coaching (WC) sessions for cancer survivors in improving health, fitness, well-being, and overall quality of life (QOL).
Methodology: Thirty participants were recruited in three states and received intervention through the telephone. The participants included 20 breast, 7 prostate and 3 colorectal cancer survivors who ranged between 0.5 – 9 years since primary treatment ended. Instrument measures at baseline and the completion of the program included (3, 9, and 15 months from baseline): Hospital Anxiety & Depression Scale (HADS), Exercise Stage Assessment, Quality of Life Patient/Cancer Survivor and Self-Efficacy Scales. A web-based self report Wellcoach® Well-being Measurement was also completed on-line. This was used for documentation and follow-up communication between coaching sessions with a certified wellness coach and fitness professional for 6 WC sessions for 3 months. They were followed for a year after the completion of the intervention to evaluate the sustainability of WC.
Results: During the intervention period, significant improvements were found in depression (p=.003) and anxiety (p=.002) measured by HADS, increased Exercise Stage Assessment (p=.001), and QOL (p=.001). Positive trends were noted in all other measures during the 3 months of coaching. These positive trends continued from the cessation of coaching to 6 months after the intervention. A slight decline in these improvements was observed from 6 to 12 month but did not return to baseline. Patient-reported WC process improved lifestyle habits by helping with positive goal setting, awareness of food choices, and exercise as primary elements. Actual reported changes and improvements included exercise and eating healthier. The most helpful aspect of working with a personal coach included motivation and feedback. Self report of fruit and vegetable consumption increased, and BMI and weight were reduced.
Conclusion: Wellness Coaching may decrease psychological distress, improve quality of life as well as self-reported health behavior and weight in cancer survivors. Wellness coaching has the potential to bridge between clinical medicine and multiple health and social disciplines to improve the overall well-being of cancer survivors. These findings need to be confirmed in a randomized controlled trial.

Keywords: Cancer Survivor, Wellness Coaching, Health Coaching, Quality of Life, Healthy Lifestyle

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 10, pp.41-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.437MB).

Mary Louise Galantino

Professor, Physical Therapy, Health Sciences School, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Pomona, NJ, USA

Dr. Galantino is a Professor at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and Adjunct Research Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania where she conducts research on integrative medicine and chronic diseases. She received her bachelor of science degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Pittsburgh, a master’s of science degree in Physical Therapy from Texas Women’s University and her doctorate from Temple University. From 2002-2005 she was the recipient of an NIH-NCCAM post-doctoral fellowship in the school of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and completed another master’s degree in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics. Dr. Galantino has enjoyed over 25 years of clinical, research and training career working with patients diagnosed with chronic diseases. She has extensive experience with the HIV and cancer populations, trained at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas and has been an advocate locally and nationally for rehabilitation services since the early 1980’s. She has received HRSA government grants to service HIV indigent patients in Houston, TX and Camden, NJ and established community based rehabilitation interventions for people living with HIV. She was recently funded by the New Jersey Cancer Consortium for Research exploring the benefits of yoga during chemotherapy for women living with breast cancer.

Pam Schmid

Priorities Simplified, LLC, Clayton, NC, USA

Pam Schmid, BS, CWC, HFS/CET, received her degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Education/Special Education with a minor in Psychology. As a practitioner in the field of education, health, and fitness since 1981, she has served in many capacities from teacher, YMCA director, employee wellness director, to drug treatment specialist in non-profit, for profit, and government organizations. Currently she is a small business owner of Priorities Simplified, LLC and creator of Healthy and Fit After Cancer® programs, supporting healthy survivorship for individuals and organizations, through speaking, writing, and coaching. Pam is currently authoring a book for Healthy Learning on the topic of breast cancer. She has served as faculty and advisor at Wellcoaches Corporation since 2003, as a practical examiner, mentor coach, teaching faculty, live workshop presenter and contributor to the first textbook on coaching in health care, Coaching Psychology Manual (in cooperation with ACSM). She is a Wellcoaches certified wellness coach, an ACSM Health Fitness Specialist and ACSM/ACS Cancer Exercise Trainer. Pam is a founding and current member of the Duke chancellor’s Patient Advocacy Council, Co-chair of the NC Comprehensive Cancer Partnership Survivorship Workgroup, and two time LIVESTRONG national delegate and Global Summit volunteer.

Anthony Milos

Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Pomona, New Jersey, USA

Anthony Milos was a DPT student at the Richard Stockton College of NJ at the time of this study assisting in the of implementation, data analysis, and manuscript preparation of the study. Anthony currently works in the acute rehabilitation setting treating patients with various disorders and post-operative procedures of the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary and other systems including cancer survivors.

Sheila Leonard

Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Pomona, New Jersey, USA

Sheila Leonard was a DPT student at the Richard Stockton College of NJ at the time of this study assisting in the of implementation, data analysis, and manuscript preparation of the study.

Stasia Botis

Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Pomona, New Jersey, USA

Stasia Botis was a DPT student at the Richard Stockton College of NJ at the time of this study assisting in the of implementation, data analysis, and manuscript preparation of the study. She is currently pursuing her passion in working with performing artists.

Courtney Dagan

Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Pomona, New Jersey, USA

Courtney Dagan was a DPT student at the Richard Stockton College of NJ at the time of this study assisting in the of implementation, data analysis, and manuscript preparation of the study.

William Albert

The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Pomona, New Jersey, USA

William N. Albert earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in the winter of 2003, and is currently a full-time employee there. Until the Spring of 2009, he worked in the Institute for Faculty Development where he assisted faculty with survey-related research and statistical analysis. He is now working as a program assistant in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences and will be pursuing a Master’s degree in the near future.

Janet Teixeira

Cancer Care Connection, Newark, Delaware, USA

Janet F. Teixeira, M.S.S., L.C.S.W., has more than twenty years of corporate experience with Xerox Corporation and American Express and nine years experience as an oncology social worker. Following the death of her husband from brain cancer in the mid 1990’s, Janet returned to school to obtain a Master of Social Service degree from Bryn Mawr College. She won national recognition from the American Board of Examiners for Clinical Social Workers in 2000. Licensed as a clinical social worker, Janet’s professional practice experience includes working as a facilitator at the Wellness Community and private clinical practice. She has received specialty training in integrative cancer care, mind-body-spirit medicine and wellness coaching. In 2008, Janet presented “Cancer Care Connection: An Innovative Approach Using Technology to “De-Frag” Access to Information, Community-based Resources, Oncology Social Work and Coaching at the Association of Oncology Social Workers annual conference. She serves on the Multidisciplinary Survivorship Team at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce Advocates of Hope Committee (a cancer workplace program) and as a principal investigator on an NIH-sponsored grant. Janet is currently Executive Director of Cancer Care Connection, a non-profit providing psychosocial support to people affected by cancer.

Jun Mao

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Dr. Jun J Mao, MD, MSCE is an assistant professor and Director of Integrative Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Being a board certified family physician and a licensed acupuncturist, he combines eastern and western approaches to treat patients with a specific clinical focus on symptom management in cancer. Dr. Mao chairs the Penn Integrative Oncology Working Group at the Abramson Cancer Center that seeks to rigorously evaluate and integrate complementary therapies to support the wellbeing of individuals affected by cancer. Dr. Mao’s research centers on investigating the effects, mechanisms and integration of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for symptom management among cancer patients and survivors. His work has been funded by American Cancer Society, Pennsylvania Department of Aging, and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. His work has been published in the Journal of American Board of Family Medicine, Family Medicine, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Acupuncture in Medicine, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and Journal of Cancer Survivorship, etc.


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