Title

Physical activity motivation and benefits in people with multiple sclerosis

Abstract

Purpose: Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative neurological disease that affects 2.1 million people worldwide. There is no cure, but an expanding body of research supports the positive impact of physical activity and suggests physical activity has benefits for the individual’s psychological and physical well-being.

Material and methods: Using Self-Determination Theory as a framework, mixed methods with a focus on qualitative interviews were used to explore physical activity motivation and benefits with a sample of highly active people with multiple sclerosis (n = 15). Disability level ranged from not disabled to wheelchair bound with the majority of participants reporting minimal impact from multiple sclerosis. Survey data were collected using a number of open-ended questions along with measures of self-efficacy, self-determined motivation, physical activity, and quality of life. Additionally, eight individuals participated in semistructured telephone interviews focused on (a) motivation and strategies used to maintain physical activity and (b) the benefits and impact of physical activity in their lives.

Results: The main findings were consistent with Self-Determination Theory; participants described feelings of accomplishment and competence in both their physical activity and daily life, as well as a sense of independence and autonomy. Similarly, all participants cited benefits, and the main themes were enhanced satisfaction with life and an overall positive outlook on life.

Conclusion: Results provide insight into the role of physical activity in a highly active sample and have implications for professionals working in physical activity settings with the multiple sclerosis population. Interventions aimed at increasing long-term physical activity adherence should focus on increasing autonomy and competence for physical activity in the individual and promoting potential increased quality of life outcomes from physical activity participation.

Department(s)

Kinesiology

Document Type

Article

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2017.1300946

Keywords

multiple sclerosis, physical activity, motivation, self-determination theory, self-efficacy

Publication Date

2017

Journal Title

Disability and rehabilitation 40

Citation-only

Share

COinS