Self-efficacy and Walking Performance in Persons With Multiple Sclerosis

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Background and Purpose:

Impairment of walking function is a prevalent and burdensome feature of multiple sclerosis (MS), and represents a primary focus of rehabilitation research and clinical care. Research examining self-efficacy as a correlate of walking performance in MS is lacking; self-efficacy represents a theory-based, modifiable target of rehabilitation approaches for improving walking outcomes. This cross-sectional study examined the association between self-efficacy and walking performance in persons living with MS.


The sample included 69 persons with MS who completed the Multiple Sclerosis Self-Efficacy (MSSE) Scale and Exercise Self-Efficacy (EXSE) Scale and undertook the Timed 25-Foot Walk (T25FW) and the 6-Minute Walk (6MW) tests. The data were analyzed using the Pearson product moment correlation coefficients and linear regression.


Correlation analysis indicated that function subscale scores on the MSSE correlated more strongly with T25FW (r = 0.55) than did the control subscale (r = 0.40) and EXSE (r = 0.38) scores, and both function (r = 0.67) and control (r = 0.53) subscale scores on the MSSE correlated more strongly with 6MW than did EXSE scores (r = 0.40). Linear regression analyses indicated that (1) function MSSE subscale, but not control subscale, explained significant variance in T25FW speed and 6MW distance and (2) function MSSE subscale, but not EXSE, explained significant variance in T25FW speed and 6MW distance.

Discussion and Conclusions:

We provide the first evidence of an association between self-efficacy, particularly for functioning with MS, and objective walking performance in MS. Future research to replicate and extend these results can inform rehabilitation efforts that target improvement of walking performance in persons with MS.

Discussion and Conclusions:

Digital Abstract available for more insights from the authors (see Slides, Supplemental Digital Content 1,

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