Purpose: To qualitatively explore exercise barriers and facilitators experienced by rural female cancer survivors from the program interventionist and recipient perspective for the purpose of enhancing exercise program implementation and uptake in rural settings. Methods: A descriptive qualitative study design was utilized. Focus groups were conducted prior to implementation of an evidence-based exercise program by a rural non-research cancer clinical site. Nineteen rural female cancer survivors (mean age = 61.7 ± 10.9 years) and 11 potential interventionists (mean age = 42.3 ± 15.3 years) completed focus groups (stratified by participant role). Focus groups were audio recorded, transcribed, coded, and analyzed using inductive thematic analysis with NVivo 11. Results: Cancer survivors identified 12 barrier themes (cancer specific adverse effects, lack of support, lack of knowledge, perceived negative aspects of exercise, cost, lack of resources, motivation, inconvenience, lack of program flexibility, time, weather, safety) and eight facilitator themes (knowledge, ease of access, resources, awareness, cost, options, organized, fun) related to exercise. Interventionists identified seven barrier themes (cost, transportation, lack of cancer survivor and interventionist knowledge, fear, motivation, lack of support, lack of resources) and four facilitator themes (resources, support, knowledge, motivation). Narratives revealed differing role-specific perspectives on shared themes between survivors and interventionists as well as potential implementation strategies for enhancing exercise participation and exercise program uptake among rural female cancer survivors. Conclusion: Exploring multi-level stakeholder perspectives on cancer survivors’ exercise needs and related strategies yields important information for organizations to consider when implementing exercise programs in rural contexts.
- Rural women