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.