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Title: Exercise and physical activity in people with multiple sclerosis : an exploration of priorities, meanings and implications for clinical practice
Author: Stennett, Andrea M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5914 7576
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2016
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Aims: Exercise and physical activity have been found to be beneficial in managing disabilities caused by multiple sclerosis (MS). Despite the known benefits, people with MS (pwMS) are inactive. Research has focused on structured exercise programmes, rarely considering a broader range of activities, which pwMS integrate into everyday life. The aims of this study were to gain in-depth understanding of the priorities and meanings of exercise and physical activity from the perspective of pwMS and to explore how these might inform clinical practice. Methods: a mixed methods approach using three interconnected studies was adopted: Study 1: A four-round Delphi questionnaire scoped and determined consensus of priorities for exercise and physical activity and the reasons why pwMS (n=101) engaged in these activities. Content and statistical analyses were utilised. Study 2: Sixteen face-to-face, semi-structured interviews were conducted with pwMS to explore the meanings ascribed to exercise and physical activity in relation to the Delphi study. Study 3: Three focus groups involving 14 physiotherapists explored perceptions about exercise and physical activity. Data were analysed for studies 2 and 3 using Framework Analysis and themes developed. Results: outcome from each phase 1. Study 1 revealed that the prioritised exercise and physical activity practices and the reasons why pwMS (n=70) undertook these activities were diverse. Consensus was found for the exercise and physical activity practices (W=0.744, p < 0.0001) and the reasons why pwMS engaged in these activities (W=0.723, p < 0.0001). 2. Study 2 demonstrated that the meanings pwMS ascribed to exercise and physical activity was beyond ‘movement’ reflecting how they lived with a variable and progressive condition. Contextual factors, specifically personal factors were dominant influences. 3. Study 3 highlighted that physiotherapists shared similar views in some aspects to pwMS, however physiotherapists perceptions of exercise and physical activity were predominately influenced by their theoretical knowledge. Conclusion: The priorities and meanings ascribed to exercise and physical activity were ‘a matter of perspective’ and context driven. Understanding the strategies used by pwMS for prioritisation might help clinicians support pwMS more effectively in their decision making about exercise and physical activity. Taking this approach creates the opportunity to deliver a more focused patient-centred approach in the management of MS. Recommendations for clinical practice and further research were identified.
Supervisor: De Souza, L. ; Norris, M. Sponsor: Association of Chartered Physiotherapists Interested in Neurology (ACPIN)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Physioitherapists' perspective of physical activity ; Mixed methods ; Delphi method ; Consensus building approach ; Person-centred approach