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The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the meaning of exercise in the lives of individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) and describe the motivational basis that contributed to their exercise involvement. Twelve adults with MS (10 females, 2 males) between the ages of 32 and 56 years were interviewed. Analysis of transcribed interviews used an inductive approach. Three major themes emerged from thematic analysis of the qualitative data: exercising to maintain function and health, enhanced exercise self-efficacy, and feelings of hope and optimism. Findings were interpreted within the conceptual framework of self-efficacy and a disability-only social context.
The author is with the University of Vermont Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Science in Burlington.