Social Cognitive Theory and Physical Activity in Older Adults with Multiple Sclerosis

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Int J MS Care. 2021 Jan-Feb;23(1):21-25. doi: 10.7224/1537-2073.2019-071. Epub 2020 Feb 14.


BACKGROUND: The expanding population of older adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) likely experiences many of the same benefits of physical activity (PA) as younger and middle-aged adults with MS. However, participation in PA is exceedingly low in this segment of the MS population. This study examined variables from social cognitive theory (SCT) as correlates of PA in older adults with MS to inform the subsequent development of behavioral interventions.

METHODS: Older adults with MS (≥60 years of age, N = 180) completed an online survey including demographic and clinical characteristics, SCT variables (exercise self-efficacy, exercise goal setting, social support, and outcome expectations), and PA (total PA [TPA] and moderate-to-vigorous PA [MVPA]).

RESULTS: Bivariate correlation analyses indicated that all SCT variables were significantly associated with TPA and MVPA (all P ≤ .001). Hierarchical linear regression analyses indicated that disability status was a significant correlate of TPA (β = -0.48, R2 = 0.23) and MVPA (β = -0.44, R2 = 0.19) in step 1; disability and self-efficacy were significant correlates of TPA (disability β = -0.20, self-efficacy β = 0.59, R2 = 0.50) and MVPA (disability β = -0.16, self-efficacy β = 0.60, R2 = 0.47) in step 2; and disability, self-efficacy, and exercise goal setting were significant correlates of TPA (disability β = -0.21, self-efficacy β = 0.50, exercise goal setting β = 0.14, R2 = 0.55) and MVPA (disability β = -0.17, self-efficacy β = 0.51, exercise goal setting β = 0.15, R2 = 0.51) in step 3.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that behavioral interventions focusing on self-efficacy and exercise goal setting as targets from SCT may be appropriate for increasing PA in older adults with MS.

PMID:33658902 | PMC:PMC7906028 | DOI:10.7224/1537-2073.2019-071