The benefits of physical activity in persons with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are considerable. Knowledge about factors that correlate to physical activity is helpful in order to develop successful strategies to increase physical activity in persons with MS. Previous studies have focused on correlates to physical activity in MS, however falls self-efficacy, social support and enjoyment of physical activity are not much studied, as well as if the correlates differ with regard to disease severity. The aim of the study was to examine associations between physical activity and age, gender, employment, having children living at home, education, disease type, disease severity, fatigue, self-efficacy for physical activity, falls self-efficacy, social support and enjoyment of physical activity in a sample of persons with MS and in subgroups with regard to disease severity.
This is a cross-sectional survey study including Swedish community living adults with MS, 287 persons, response rate 58.2%. The survey included standardized self-reported scales measuring physical activity, disease severity, fatigue, self-efficacy for physical activity, falls self-efficacy, and social support. Physical activity was measured by the Physical Activity Disability Survey - Revised.
Multiple regression analyzes showed that 59% (F(6,3) = 64.9, p = 0.000) of the variation in physical activity was explained by having less severe disease (β = -0.30), being employed (β = 0.26), having high falls self-efficacy (β = 0.20), having high self-efficacy for physical activity (β = 0.17), and enjoying physical activity (β = 0.11). In persons with moderate/severe MS, self-efficacy for physical activity explained physical activity.
Consistent with previous research in persons with MS in other countries this study shows that disease severity, employment and self-efficacy for physical activity are important for physical activity. Additional important factors were falls self-efficacy and enjoyment. More research is needed to confirm this and the subgroup differences.