Symptom Cluster as a Predictor of Physical Activity in Multiple Sclerosis: Preliminary Evidence

Robert W. Motl, Edward McAuley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study examined the symptom cluster of fatigue, pain, and depression, and its direct and indirect prediction of physical activity behavior in a sample of individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) using a prospective research design and the Theory of Unpleasant Symptoms. The sample included 292 individuals with a definite diagnosis of MS. The participants completed self-report measures of fatigue, depression, pain, self-efficacy, and functional limitations at baseline and six months later, wore an accelerometer for seven days and completed a self-report measure of physical activity behavior. The data analysis indicated that: 1) fatigue, depression, and pain represented a symptom cluster; 2) the symptom cluster had a strong and negative predictive relationship with physical activity behavior; and 3) functional limitations, but not self-efficacy, accounted for the predictive relationship between the symptom cluster and physical activity behavior. Such findings provide preliminary support to the importance of considering symptom clusters as a meaningful correlate of physical activity behavior in persons with MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-280
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Symptom cluster
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • multiple sclerosis
  • pain
  • physical activity behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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