Does Health Coaching Grow Capacity in Cancer Survivors? A Systematic Review

Suzette Barakat, Kasey Boehmer, Marwan Abdelrahim, Sangwoo Ahn, Abdulrahman A. Al-Khateeb, Neri Álvarez Villalobos, Larry Prokop, Patricia J. Erwin, Kirsten Fleming, Valentina Serrano, Gabriela Spencer-Bonilla, Mohammad Hassan Murad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Interventions that grow patient capacity to do the work of health care and life are needed to support the health of cancer survivors. Health coaching may grow capacity. This systematic review of health coaching interventions explored coaching's ability to grow capacity of cancer survivors. The authors included randomized trials or quasi-experimental studies comparing coaching to alternative interventions, and adhered to PRISMA reporting guidelines. Data were analyzed using the Theory of Patient Capacity (BREWS: Capacity is affected by factors that influence ability to reframe Biography ["B"], mobilize or recruit Resources ["R"], interact with the Environment of care ["E"], accomplish Work ["W"]), and function Socially ["S"]). The authors reviewed 2210 references and selected 12 studies (6 randomized trials and 6 pre-post). These studies included 1038 cancer survivors, mean age 57.2 years, with various type of cancers: breast, colorectal, prostate, and lung. Health coaching was associated with improved quality of life, mood, and physical activity but not self-efficacy. Classified by potential to support growth in patient capacity, 67% of included studies reported statistically significant outcomes that support "B" (quality of life, acceptance, spirituality), 75% "R" (decreased fatigue, pain), 67% "W" (increased physical activity), and 33% "S" (social deprivation index). None addressed changing the patient's environment of care. In cancer survivors, health coaching improved quality of life and supported patient capacity by several mechanisms, suggesting an important role for "Capacity Coaching." Future interventions that improve self-efficacy and patients' environments of care are needed. Capacity Coaching may improve health and quality of life of cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-81
Number of pages19
JournalPopulation health management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • Cancer survivor
  • capacity
  • health coaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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