Exploring the facilitators and barriers to engagement in physical activity for people with multiple sclerosis

Disabil Rehabil. 2011;33(12):1043-53. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2010.520801. Epub 2010 Sep 29.


Purpose: To explore the relationship that cognitive behavioural and other previously identified variables have with physical activity engagement in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods: This study adopted a cross-sectional questionnaire design. Participants were 282 individuals with MS. Outcome measures included the Physical Activity Disability Survey--Revised, Cognitive and Behavioural Responses to Symptoms Questionnaire, Barriers to Health Promoting Activities for Disabled Persons Scale, Multiple Sclerosis Self-efficacy Scale, Self-Efficacy for Chronic Diseases Scales and Chalder Fatigue Questionnaire.

Results: Multivariable stepwise regression analyses found that greater self-efficacy, greater reported mental fatigue and lower number of perceived barriers to physical activity accounted for a significant proportion of variance in physical activity behaviour, over that accounted for by illness-related variables. Although fear-avoidance beliefs accounted for a significant proportion of variance in the initial analyses, its effect was explained by other factors in the final multivariable analyses.

Conclusions: Self-efficacy, mental fatigue and perceived barriers to physical activity are potentially modifiable variables which could be incorporated into interventions designed to improve physical activity engagement. Future research should explore whether a measurement tool tailored to capture beliefs about physical activity identified by people with MS would better predict participation in physical activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Competency
  • Mental Fatigue / etiology
  • Mental Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Mental Fatigue / rehabilitation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / physiopathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / psychology
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / rehabilitation
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Quality Improvement
  • Self Efficacy
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Social Facilitation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires