Silveira SL, Riemann-Lorenz K, Heesen C, Motl RW.

Background: Physical activity is an evidence-based, safe second-line approach for improved multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms and disease progression. This study examined the contributions of Capability-Opportunity-Motivation-Behavior (COM-B) factors for understanding engagement in current and long-term physical activity among persons with MS in the United States (U.S.). Method: Adults with MS in the U.S. (N = 854) completed an online survey that included questions regarding demographic and clinical characteristics, COM-B constructs, Godin Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire (GLTEQ), and Physical Activity Staging Questionnaire (PASQ). Participants were classified into groups based on the GLTEQ regarding current physical activity behavior and PASQ for long-term physical activity behavior. MANOVA and discriminant function analysis (DFA) identified COM-B constructs that differentiated physical activity groups. Results: MANOVA analyses indicated that all COM-B constructs were significantly different for both GLTEQ current physical activity groups (Wilks’s λ = .5, F(44, 1432) = 14.8) and PASQ long-term physical activity groups (Wilks’s λ = .4, F(44, 1464) = 16.9) status except Information Provision. DFA analysis regarding GLTEQ identified a function including exclusively Capability and Motivation sources of behavior that differentiated current physical activity groups such as intention and self-efficacy. DFA for PASQ identified a different function of the Capability and Motivation sources of behavior that differentiated long-term physical activity groups; the primary differentiating variables were action control and intention. Conclusion: Our results identify internal factors as the primary COM-B predictors of current and long-term physical activity among adults with MS in the U.S., and health promotion interventions may focus on assessing individual competencies and behavioral regulation for changing physical activity in MS. 

Int J Behav Med. 2021 Oct;28(5):561-574

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