Social Cognitive Predictors of Physical Activity in Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis

Yoojin Suh, Ina Joshi, Conner Olsen, Robert W. Motl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Persons with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) are often sedentary, despite the benefits of the regular physical activity. This has motivated the search for variables that act as determinants of physical activity. Such variables are derived from theory and presumably represent targets of behavioral interventions for increasing physical activity.

Purpose: This prospective, observational study examined variables from social cognitive theory as determinants of physical activity 6 weeks later in persons with RRMS.

Methods: Persons (N = 68) with RRMS initially completed a questionnaire battery that included measures of self-efficacy, physical, social, and self-evaluative outcome expectations, functional limitations as an impediment, social support as a facilitator, and goal setting for physical activity. The participants wore an accelerometer and completed a self-reported physical activity measure 6 weeks later. Data were analyzed using path analysis in Mplus 3.0.

Results: Self-efficacy (path coefficient = 0.19, p < 0.05), functional limitations (path coefficient = −0.33, p < 0.0001), and goal setting (path coefficient = 0.26, p < 0.01) had statistically significant direct effects on physical activity. Self-efficacy further had a statistically significant indirect effect on physical activity by way of functional limitations (path coefficient = 0.12, p < 0.05), but not by goal setting (path coefficient = 0.02, p = 0.66). This model explained 28 % of the variance in physical activity.

Conclusions: This prospective study suggests that self-efficacy, functional limitations, and goal setting might represent modifiable targets of behavioral interventions for increasing physical activity among persons with RRMS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-898
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 25 2014


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Physical activity
  • Social cognitive theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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