Activity Levels and Exercise Motivation in Patients With COPD and Their Resident Loved Ones

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Resident loved ones of patients with COPD can play an important role in helping these patients engage in physical activity. We aimed to compare activity levels and exercise motivation between patients with COPD and their resident loved ones; to compare the same outcome measures in patients after stratification for the physical activity level of the loved ones; and to predict the likelihood of being physically active in patients with a physically active resident loved one.


One hundred twenty-five patient/loved one dyads were cross-sectionally and simultaneously assessed. Sedentary behavior, light activities, and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were measured with a triaxial accelerometer during free-living conditions for at least 5 days. Five exercise-motivation constructs were investigated: amotivation, external regulation, introjected regulation, identified regulation, and intrinsic regulation.


Patients spent more time in sedentary behavior and less time in physical activity than their loved ones (P < .0001). More intrinsic regulation was observed in loved ones compared with patients (P = .003), with no differences in other constructs. Despite similar exercise motivation, patients with an active loved one spent more time in MVPA (mean 31 min/d; 95% CI, 24-38 min/d vs mean, 18 min/d; 95% CI, 14-22 min/d; P = .002) and had a higher likelihood of being active (OR, 4.36; 95% CI, 1.41-13.30; P = .01) than did patients with an inactive loved one after controlling for age, BMI, and degree of airflow limitation.


Patients with COPD are more physically inactive and sedentary than their loved ones, despite relatively similar exercise motivation. Nevertheless, patients with an active loved one are more active themselves and have a higher likelihood of being active.

Trial Registry

Dutch Trial Register (NTR3941).

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