Physical activity (PA) is important for arthritis self-management. A better understanding of the PA correlates in persons with arthritis will help inform interventions.
Computer searches were conducted on PubMed, PsychInfo, Current Contents, and Cinahl databases. Reference lists of extracted articles were also searched. Thirty-six studies published between 1976 and February 2004 met inclusion criteria.
PA correlates are presented for sociodemographic, psychological, health-related, social, and environmental categories. Self-efficacy, perceived benefits and barriers, mental well-being, prior PA, and pain received the most consistent support as PA correlates, whereas sociodemographic, social, and environmental variables were the least studied. Too few studies were conducted to allow comparisons across arthritis type or study design.
We recommend that additional qualitative research be conducted to understand factors influencing PA in persons with arthritis. Prospective studies, particularly in the context of a PA program or intervention, would also be useful to better understand how barriers and enablers change over time.
Wilcox, Der Ananian, Sharpe, and Robbins are with the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208. Brady is with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341.