Are Physical Activity and Symptoms Correlates of Functional Limitations and Disability in Multiple Sclerosis?

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ObjectiveThis study examined physical activity and symptoms as correlates of functional limitations and disability among individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). The authors hypothesized that physical activity and symptoms would be interrelated and that physical activity would be indirectly associated with disability through a pathway that involved functional limitations, whereas symptoms would be directly associated with both functional limitations and disability.MethodsIndividuals with MS (N= 133) who were recruited through a community organization wore an accelerometer for a 7-day period and completed a paper-and-pencil survey containing the Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire (G. Godin & R. J. Shephard, 1985), Symptom Inventory (C. E. Schwartz, T. Vollmer, & H. Lee, 1999), MS-Related Symptom Checklist (E. E. Gulick, 1989), and abbreviated Late-Life Function and Disability Inventory (E. McAuley, J. F. Konopack, R. W. Motl, K. Rosengren, & K. S. Morris, 2005). The data were analyzed using structural equation modeling in AMOS 6.0.ResultsThe standardized coefficients indicated that (a) physical activity and symptoms were negatively correlated (φ = −.59); (b) those who were more physically active had better function (γ = .40); (c) those with fewer symptoms had better function (γ = −.46) and less disability (γ = −.29); and (d) those with better function had less disability (β = .63).ConclusionFindings indicate that physical activity is associated with reduced disability through a pathway that is consistent with S. Z. Nagi's disablement model in individuals with MS.

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