Feasibility and acceptability of active book clubs in cancer survivors – an explorative investigation

<p><b>Background:</b> While the increasing number of people surviving cancer is promising, the long-term health effects warrant broad, innovative interventions. We investigated the feasibility and acceptability of a 24-week intervention called ‘Active Book Club’ comprising audio book listening, pedometer walking and supervised book club meetings.</p> <p><b>Material and methods:</b> An exploratory and descriptive design was applied. Qualitative data included baseline and post-intervention focus group interviews as well as post-intervention individual interviews. The study also included data on retention, attendance, and adherence. Seventeen self-referred cancer survivors with various oncological and sociodemographic backgrounds were included.</p> <p><b>Results:</b> Eight (47%) participants completed the entire intervention. Their median attendance at the book club meetings was eight [interquartile range (IQR) 6–9] of nine possible, and they reached the walking step goal in a median of 11 (IQR 7–12) of the first 12 weeks, and seven (IQR 1–10) of the last 12 weeks. The qualitative analysis revealed five themes including: <i>Motivation and expectations</i> (i.e. reasons for enrollment), <i>Attentive listening</i> (i.e. experiences of the audio book format), <i>Affected by the story</i> (i.e. experiences of the content of the books), <i>Group involvement</i> (i.e. experiences of the book club meetings) and <i>Walking regularly</i> (i.e. experiences of the walking program). Overall, findings revealed that while audio books may bring new meaning to physical activity and serve as a relief from own concerns, certain stories may affect some individuals negatively. The substantial dropout rate, however, suggested that modification is necessary and that patient involvement in choice of literature may be critical to enhance acceptability.</p> <p><b>Conclusion:</b> The ‘Active Book Club’ represents a novel psychosocial intervention potentially supporting physical activity adoption and mental health in cancer survivors. However, several issues related to feasibility and acceptability including choice of literature genre, format and supervision of book club meetings need to be considered before larger scale clinical trials are initiated.</p>