Fatigue, depression, and physical activity in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: Results from a prospective, 18-month study

Robert W Motl, Yoojin Suh, Madeline Weikert, Deirdre Dlugonski, Swathi Balantrapu, Brian Sandroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Fatigue, depression, and physical inactivity are common in multiple sclerosis (MS), but there is limited information on the bi-directional associations among those variables over a long period of time. Objective: This study examined the hypothesis that fatigue and depression would predict change in physical activity and that physical activity would predict changes in fatigue and depression over an 18-month period of time in persons with MS, even after controlling for disability status, disease duration, sex, and age. Methods: This longitudinal study collected data on fatigue, depression, physical activity, and confounding variables from the same sample of persons with relapsing-remitting MS on two occasions that were separated by 18 months. Results: The cross-lagged path coefficient between baseline fatigue and follow-up physical activity was statistically significant (path coefficient =-.26, p < .0001) as was the cross-lagged path coefficient between baseline physical activity and follow-up fatigue (path coefficient=-.11, p < .05). Those bi-directional associations were independent of depression, disability status, disease duration, sex, and age. There were no statistically significant cross-lagged path coefficients between depression and physical activity. Conclusions: This study identified bi-directional associations between fatigue and physical activity over an 18-month period of time. The nature of such associations opens the door for research on fatigue management as an approach for sustaining or promoting physical activity over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-48
Number of pages6
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2012

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Longitudinal
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Physical activity
  • Symptom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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