What do I get out of this abstract? That groups like ActiveMSers might be even more important than we realize. - Dave

Randomized controlled trial of a behavioral intervention targeting symptoms and physical activity in multiple sclerosis

LA Pilutti
D Dlugonski
BM Sandroff
R Klaren
RW Motl

Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, USA

•Robert W. Motl, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois, 233 Freer Hall, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


Background: Exercise training is beneficial, but most persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) are sedentary and physically inactive. This has prompted a new focus on the promotion of lifestyle physical activity in MS. We previously designed, tested, and refined a behavioral intervention delivered through the Internet that successfully increased lifestyle physical activity in MS, but have not evaluated the effects on secondary symptomatic and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes.

Objective: We conducted a 6-month randomized controlled trial (RCT) that examined the efficacy of an Internet-delivered, behavioral intervention for improving outcomes of fatigue, depression, anxiety, pain, sleep quality, and HRQOL in 82 ambulatory persons with MS. The secondary aim was to replicate previous results regarding change in free-living physical activity.

Results: There was a significant and positive effect of the intervention on fatigue severity (p=.001, ηρ2=.15) and its physical impact (p=.008, ηρ2=.09), depression (p=.006, ηρ2=.10), and anxiety (p=.006, ηρ2=.10). There were non-significant improvements in pain (p=.08, ηρ2=.04), sleep quality (p=.06, ηρ2=.05), and physical HRQOL (p=.06, ηρ2=.05). We replicated our previous results by demonstrating an increase in self-reported physical activity (p=.001, ηρ2=.13).

Conclusions: Our results support behavioral interventions targeting lifestyle physical activity as an alternative approach for managing symptoms in MS.