Longitudinal analysis of physical activity and symptoms as predictors of change in functional limitations and disability in multiple sclerosis

Rehabil Psychol. 2009 May;54(2):204-10. doi: 10.1037/a0015770.


Objective: This longitudinal, observational study examined changes in physical activity and symptoms as correlates of changes in functional limitations and disability across a 6-month period among individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Method: Individuals with MS wore an accelerometer for a 7-day period and completed a battery of measures including the Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire (Godin & Shephard, 1985), Symptom Inventory (Schwartz, Vollmer, & Lee, 1999), MS-Related Symptom Checklist (Gulick, 1989), and abbreviated Late-Life Function and Disability Inventory (McAuley, Konopack, Motl, Rosengren, & Morris, 2005) at baseline (n = 292) and 6-month follow-up (n = 276). The data were analyzed using panel analysis with latent variables in AMOS 16.0.

Results: The standardized coefficients indicated that (a) change in physical activity was associated with residual change in function (beta = .22), (b) change in symptoms was associated with residual changes in both function (beta = -.29) and disability (gamma = -.15), and (c) change in function was associated with residual change in disability (beta = .20).

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that change in physical activity is associated with change in disability through a pathway that is consistent with Nagi's (1976) Disablement Model and its extension in individuals with MS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motor Activity*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / diagnosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / psychology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive / rehabilitation*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / diagnosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / psychology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / rehabilitation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult