The relationship between balance confidence and cognitive motor interference in individuals with multiple sclerosis

Douglas A. Wajda, Kathleen L. Roeing, Edward McAuley, Robert W. Motl, Jacob J Sosnoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Gait and cognitive impairments are compounded when performed simultaneously in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), and this is termed cognitive-motor interference (CMI). The authors examined whether CMI is related to balance confidence in individuals with MS. They hypothesized that individuals with low balance confidence would exhibit greater CMI possibly indicating a behavioral modification during dual task conditions. Thirty-four individuals with MS completed Activity-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale and a cognitive assessment as well as single and dual task walking trials at a comfortable pace. CMI was calculated as the percent change in walking velocity and cognitive task performance from single- to dual-task conditions and termed dual-task cost (DTC). A correlation analysis was performed to determine the relationships between DTCs of gait and cognitive performance and ABC scores. The correlation analysis revealed no significant association between ABC and DTC of walking velocity (p >.05). A significant relationship between balance confidence and DTCs of cognition was observed. The observed relationships suggest individuals with MS tend to alter their cognitive performance rather than manipulating their gait when confronted with a dual task. Overall, the findings partially support a behavioral explanation of CMI in individuals with MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-71
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Motor Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016



  • balance confidence
  • cognition
  • cognitive-motor interference
  • gait
  • multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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