• breast cancer;
  • subjective well-being;
  • physical health;
  • physical activity;
  • sedentary activity;
  • goal adjustment



This longitudinal study examined whether goal adjustment capacities (i.e., goal disengagement and goal reengagement) would predict breast cancer survivors' emotional well-being and physical health by facilitating high levels of physical activity and low levels of sedentary activity.


Self-reports of goal adjustment capacities were measured among 176 female breast cancer survivors at baseline. Self-reports of physical activity, sedentary activity, daily affect, and daily physical health symptoms (e.g., nausea or pain) were measured at baseline and 3-month follow-up.


Goal reengagement predicted high levels of positive affect and low levels of physical symptoms at baseline and increases in positive affect over 3 months. The combination of high goal disengagement and high goal reengagement was associated with particularly large 3-month increases in positive affect. The effects of goal reengagement on baseline affect and physical health were mediated by high baseline levels of physical activity, and the interaction effect on 3-month changes in positive affect was mediated by low baseline levels of sedentary activity.


Goal adjustment capacities can exert beneficial effects on breast cancer survivors' well-being and physical health by facilitating adaptive levels of physical and sedentary activity. Integrating goal adjustment processes into clinical practice may be warranted. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.