The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

The Effects of Communication Technology Use On Older Prostate Cancer Survivors' Physical Activity Participation

Saturday, January 18, 2014
HBG Convention Center, Bridge Hall Street Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
Jeehoon Kim, PhD, Assistant Professor, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID
Hee Yun Lee, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Edina, MN
Purpose:  In 2008, approximately 60% of cancer survivors were older adults in the U.S. Along with aging trend of the baby boomer generation, there would be a 42% of increase in the number of cancer survivors aged 65 and over between 2010 and 2020 (Parry, Mariotto, Alfano & Rowland, 2011). Since the boomers are becoming technology savvy (AARP Symposium, 2011), recent studies reported the boomers’ communication technology use (Zickuhr & Madden, 2012) and its association with social and physical activity participation (Hogeboom, 2007). However, there has been little attention to identify the association between communication technology use and participation in physical activity among older prostate cancer survivors. The current study aims to investigate (1) the levels of communication technology use by older prostate cancer survivors; and (2) how the communication technology use is associated with different levels of physical activity.

Methods: This study utilized the data from the first round of the 2011 National Health and Aging Trend Study (NHATS), a successor of National Long Term Care Surveys (1982-2004), which collected information on a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older. The NHATS has been designed in a complex way, and uses a stratified three-stage sample design.  The sample was comprised of community-dwelling older prostate cancer survivors (N=320).  Multinomial logistic regression analysis was employed to identify factors associated with older prostate cancer survivors’ regular walking and vigorous activity participation (base outcome=inactive group). For data analyses, this study used survey software, Stata 10.0 (StataCorp, 2007) and all estimates take weighted statistics.

Results:  The sample actively used communication technology (46%), and attended clubs or organization activities (38%) and volunteering activities (30%). About 24% of the sample was physically inactive, while 30% and 46% of the sample ever went walking for exercise and participating in vigorous physical activities (working out, running, biking) in the past month, respectively.  We found different factors associated with older prostate cancer survivors to engage in vigorous activity or walking for exercise. Older prostate cancer survivors were more likely to engage in vigorous activity when they were younger, healthier, attending clubs or organizational activities and using communication technology than the inactive group. Younger and married older prostate cancer survivors were more likely to walk for exercise than the inactive group.

Conclusion/Implications: The findings indicate that communication technology use can contribute to older prostate cancer survivors’ physical activity participation. Communication technology may be a useful intervention tool to increase older prostate cancer survivors’ engagement in vigorous activities in conjunction with social activity.  Since married older prostate cancer survivors were more likely to engage in walking for exercise, exercise programs to target older couples would benefit married older prostate cancer survivors to continuously engage in routine physical activities with their spouse.