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Keywords:

  • physical activity;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • symptoms;
  • fatigue;
  • depression;
  • cognitive impairment;
  • pain;
  • walking

Abstract

We examined overall and specific symptoms as correlates of physical activity in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). Participants (N = 133) completed questionnaires that measured overall symptoms; and specific symptoms of depression, pain, and fatigue; difficulty walking; and physical activity. Initial analyses indicated that higher levels of overall symptoms (r = −.50), fatigue (r = −.26), and difficulty walking (r = −.46) were associated with lower levels of physical activity. Path analysis demonstrated that higher levels of overall symptoms were directly and indirectly associated with lower levels of physical activity; the indirect pathway involved difficulty walking (γγββ = −.17). Such findings indicate that walking difficulty may partially explain the negative relationship between overall symptoms and physical activity behavior in MS. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 31:466–475, 2008