The authors examined the relationship between musculoskeletal pain, self-efficacy, attitudes and beliefs about exercise, and physical activity in 75- to 85-year-old adults. Participants rated their pain during the preceding month in their back, hips, knees, and feet on a scale of 0 to 10. Pain was categorized by number of sites of moderate to severe pain. Among the 325 participants, 42.8% reported at least moderate pain in at least 1 site. Having more pain sites was associated with younger age, lower income, depressed mood, and poorer self-rated health. Participants with more pain sites scored lower on exercise attitudes, beliefs, and self-efficacy, but the self-efficacy scale was most strongly associated with physical activity. Participants with 2–4 pain sites and low self-efficacy were >4 times as likely to be sedentary as those with no pain and high self-efficacy. These findings suggest that improving self-efficacy for exercise might be an important component of programs to increase physical activity in adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Leveille is with the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged, 1200 Centre St., Boston, MA 02131. Cohen-Mansfield is with the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, Research Institute on Aging, 6121 Montrose Rd., Rockville, MD 20852. Guralnik is with the Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, Natl. Institute on Aging, Natl. Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.