Does the effect of a physical activity behavioral intervention vary by characteristics of people with multiple sclerosis?

Robert W. Motl, Deirdre Dlugonski, Lara A. Pilutti, Rachel E. Klaren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Behavioral interventions have significantly increased physical activity in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Nevertheless, there has been interindividual variability in the pattern and magnitude of change. This study documented the efficacy and variability of a behavioral intervention for changing physical activity and examined the possibility that efficacy varied by the characteristics of individuals with MS. Methods: Eighty-two people with MS were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: behavioral intervention (n = 41) or waitlist control (n = 41). We collected information before the study on MS type, disability status, weight status based on body-mass index, and current medications. Furthermore, all participants completed the Godin Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire and the abbreviated International Physical Activity Questionnaire and wore an accelerometer for 1 week to measure minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity before and after the 6-month intervention period. Results: Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) indicated that participants in the behavioral intervention had significantly higher levels of physical activity than control participants after the 6-month period (P < .001). There was substantial interindividual variability in the magnitude of change, and ANCOVA indicated that MS type (relapsing vs. progressive) (P < .01), disability status (mild vs. moderate) (P < .01), and weight status (normal weight vs. overweight/obese) (P < .05) moderated the efficacy of the behavioral intervention. Conclusions: The behavioral intervention was associated with improvements in physical activity, particularly for those with mild disability, relapsing-remitting MS, or normal weight status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of MS Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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