'I can do this': A qualitative exploration of acceptability and experiences of a physical activity behaviour change intervention in people with multiple sclerosis in the UK

Jennifer Fortune*, Meriel Norris, Andrea Stennett, Cherry Kilbride, Grace Lavelle, Wendy Hendrie, Lorraine De Souza, Mohamed Abdul, Debbie Brewin, Lee David, Nana Anokye, Christina Victor, Jennifer M. Ryan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) who participated in iStep-MS, a feasibility randomised controlled trial of a behaviour change intervention that aimed to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour. Design A qualitative approach was undertaken embedded in the feasibility randomised controlled trial. One-to-one semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed using Framework analysis. Setting Participants were recruited from a single MS therapy centre in the southeast of England, UK. Participants Sixty people with MS were randomly allocated in a 1:1 ratio to the intervention or usual care. Following a purposive sampling strategy, 15 participants from the intervention arm undertook 1:1 semi-structured interviews. Interventions The iStep-MS intervention consisted of four therapist-led sessions over 12 weeks, supported by a handbook and pedometer. Results Three themes were identified from the data. "I can do this": Developing competence in physical activity highlights the enhanced physical activity confidence gained through goal setting and accomplishment. "I felt valued": The nurturing culture provides an overview of the supportive and non-judgemental environment created by the programme structure and therapeutic relationship. Finally, "What can I do?": Empowered enactment describes the transition from the supported iStep-MS intervention to intrinsically motivated physical activity enactment. Conclusions Overall, this study supports the acceptability of the iStep-MS intervention and identified key areas that supported participants to be physically active.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere029831
JournalBMJ Open
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • behaviour change
  • multiple sclerosis
  • physical activity
  • qualitative
  • sedentary behaviour
  • step count

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