Evelyn Pauwels

Ghent University, Gand, Flanders, Belgium

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Publications (7)14.34 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This observational study aimed to adapt a computer-tailored step advice for the general population into a feasible advice for breast cancer survivors and to test its usability. First, several adaptations were made to the original design (adding cancer-related physical activity (PA) barriers and beliefs, and self-management strategies to improve survivors' personal control). Second, the adapted advice was evaluated in two phases: (1) a usability testing in healthy women (n = 3) and survivors (n = 6); and (2) a process evaluation during 3 weeks in breast cancer survivors (n = 8). Preliminary usability testing revealed no problems during logging-in; however, three survivors misinterpreted some questions. After refining the questionnaire and advice, survivors evaluated the advice as interesting, attractive to read, comprehensible and credible. Inactive survivors found the advice novel, but too long. The process evaluation indicated that the majority of the women (n = 5/8) reported increased steps. Monitoring step counts by using a pedometer was perceived as an important motivator to be more active. To conclude, this study provides initial support for the usability and acceptability of a computer-tailored pedometer-based PA advice for breast cancer survivors. After testing efficacy and effectiveness of this intervention, this tool can broaden the reach of PA promotion in breast cancer survivors.
    European Journal of Cancer Care 09/2014; DOI:10.1111/ecc.12225 · 1.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Physical activity determinants are subject to change when confronted with the diagnosis of 'cancer' and new cancer-related determinants appear. The aim of the present study is to compare the contribution of cancer-related determinants with more general ones in explaining physical activity 3 weeks to 6 months post-treatment. METHODS: A theory-based and validated questionnaire was used to identify physical activity levels (total and domain-specific) and associated determinants among 464 breast cancer survivors (aged 18 to 65 years) 3 weeks to 6 months post-treatment. RESULTS: Descriptive analyses showed higher scores for general determinants in comparison with cancer-related determinants. Nevertheless, regression analyses showed that both general and cancer-related determinants explained total and domain-specific physical activity. Self-efficacy, enjoyment, social support, lack of time and lack of company were important general determinants. The perception of returning to normal life, cancer-related barriers (fatigue, lack of energy and physical side effects) and self-efficacy in overcoming these barriers were important cancer-related determinants. Although results differed according to the women's working status and the physical activity domain, general self-efficacy explained most physical activity types in both groups. CONCLUSION: Comparable with the general population, enhancing breast cancer survivors' self-efficacy in being sufficiently physically active seems to be important in physical activity interventions post-treatment. However, interventions should be tailored to the experienced symptoms and working status of the women. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Psycho-Oncology 01/2013; 22(1). DOI:10.1002/pon.2079 · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: On-line provision of information during the transition phase after treatment carries great promise in meeting shortcomings in post-treatment care for breast cancer survivors and their partners. The objectives of this study are to describe the development and process evaluation of a tailored informative website and to assess which characteristics of survivors and partners, participating in the feasibility study, are related to visiting the website. METHODS: The development process included quantitative and qualitative assessments of survivors' and partners' care needs and preferences. Participants' use and evaluation of the website were explored by conducting baseline and post-measurements. During the intervening 10--12 weeks 57 survivors and 28 partners were granted access to the website. RESULTS: Fifty-seven percent (n=21) of survivors who took part in the post-measurement indicated that they had visited the website. Compared to non-visitors (n=16), they were more likely to have a partner and a higher income, reported higher levels of self-esteem and had completed treatment for a longer period of time. Partners who consulted the on-line information (42%, n=8) were younger and reported lower levels of social support compared to partners who did not visit the website (n=11). Visitors generally evaluated the content and lay-out positively, yet some believed the information was incomplete and impersonal. CONCLUSIONS: The website reached only about half of survivors and partners, yet was mostly well-received. Besides other ways of providing information and support, a website containing clear-cut and tailored information could be a useful tool in post-treatment care provision.
    BMC Research Notes 10/2012; 5(1):548. DOI:10.1186/1756-0500-5-548
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined treatment-related and psychosocial variables in explaining total and leisure time physical activity in breast cancer survivors three weeks to six months post-treatment. A questionnaire was used to measure total and leisure time physical activity and relevant determinants among 464 breast cancer survivors (aged 18-65 years). Personal control was an important overall determinant in explaining physical activity in breast cancer survivors. The impact of treatment-related variables and psychological functioning depended on the working status of the women. Fatigue and poor body image prevented non-working women from being sufficiently physically active. In working women, chemotherapy and arm problems negatively influenced physical activity, whereas therapy side-effects (headaches, hot flashes, feeling unwell) and poor body image positively influenced physical activity. Social support and coping strategies could not explain post-treatment physical activity levels. Personal control, treatment-related variables and psychological functioning influenced physical activity after cancer treatment. Relations depended on the working status of the women. Incorporating self-control methods in physical activity interventions after breast cancer could be helpful. Furthermore, interventions should be tailored to the experienced symptoms (fatigue, arm-problems, body image) and working status of women.
    Patient Education and Counseling 07/2012; 89(1):171-7. DOI:10.1016/j.pec.2012.06.029 · 2.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CHARLIER C., PAUWELS E., LECHNER L., SPITTAELS H., BOURGOIS J., DE BOURDEAUDHUIJ I. & VAN HOOF E. (2012) European Journal of Cancer Care Physical activity levels and supportive care needs for physical activity among breast cancer survivors with different psychosocial profiles: a cluster-analytical approach The transition from breast cancer patient to survivor is associated with many treatment-related and psychosocial factors, which can influence health behaviour and associated needs. First, this study aimed to identify clusters of treatment-related and psychosocial factors among breast cancer survivors. Second, clusters' physical activity levels and care needs for physical activity were evaluated. Breast cancer survivors (n= 440; 52 ± 8 years) (3 weeks to 6 months post treatment) completed self-reports on physical and psychological symptoms; illness representations; social support and coping; physical activity and care needs for physical activity. Analyses identified four clusters: (1) a low distress-active approach group; (2) a low distress-resigned approach group; (3) a high distress-active approach group; and (4) a high distress-emotional approach group. Physical activity levels were higher in the low distress groups than in the high distress-emotional approach group. However, women with low distress and an active approach reported equal care needs for physical activity than women with high distress and an emotional approach. These findings suggest that care needs for physical activity are unrelated to distress and actual physical activity levels. The results emphasise the importance of screening for needs and provide a framework supporting the referral of breast cancer survivors to tailored interventions.
    European Journal of Cancer Care 05/2012; 21(6):790-9. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2354.2012.01362.x · 1.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines which psychosocial characteristics are associated with breast cancer survivors' partners' posttreatment needs for information and support. Eighty-four partners completed measures of coping, social support, illness representations, perceived stress, self-efficacy, anxiety, depression, and marital malfunctioning. Partners in need reported higher anxiety and depression, emotional illness representations, and emotion-oriented coping than partners without needs. Moreover, partners needing information and support took a more negative view on the timeline and consequences of their spouse's posttreatment condition. Interventions aimed at enhancing partners' posttreatment adjustment should focus on partners responding emotionally as well as perceiving their spouse's condition as a chronic condition.
    Journal of Psychosocial Oncology 01/2012; 30(1):1-20. DOI:10.1080/07347332.2011.633982 · 1.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: This study examines the care needs of rehabilitating breast cancer survivors and determines what sociodemographic and medical characteristics are associated with these care needs. METHODS: A large-scale cross-sectional study (n = 465, response rate = 65%) was conducted among survivors who had ended primary treatment less than 6 months previously. Questionnaires were completed regarding participants' care needs, how these needs were met and the time and manner preferred for receiving information and support. Care needs regarding seven specific rehabilitation topics were assessed separately: (1) physical functioning, (2) psychological functioning, (3) self and body image, (4) sexuality, (5) relationship with partner, (6) relationship with others, and (7) work, return to work and social security. RESULTS: High unmet needs were reported across all topics. The time preferred for receiving information and support across most topics was the period of breast cancer treatment. The most popular sources of information and support were informative brochures, consultation with a psychologist, information sessions and an informative website. Younger age and lower income were associated with care needs after treatment. CONCLUSIONS: A valuable contribution is made to the literature on post-treatment care needs by comprehensively mapping unmet needs and the preferred time and source for meeting those needs. This study leads to greater awareness of the struggle facing breast cancer survivors and should guide those developing post-treatment interventions. As optimal tailoring to the needs of the target group is a prerequisite for success, preparatory needs assessment should be essential to the development of supportive interventions. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Psycho-Oncology 09/2011; DOI:10.1002/pon.2069 · 4.04 Impact Factor