The relationship between exercise and resilience in people with multiple sclerosis

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease, in which a person's own white blood cells to attack the fatty protective layer called myelin around nerves in the brain and spinal cord resulting in demyelinization and nerve damage. MS is typically diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40 years old. The impact and damage is highly variable from one person to the next. Women are affected more often than men. Exercise is a pattern of physical activity and movement. Resilience is the ability to cope with change or misfortune, a fluid quality that acts to modify individual responses to risk. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between exercise and resilience in people with MS. A correlational study was used to determine if a relationship exists between exercise and resilience in a convenience sample, consisting of 74 MS patients at a neuroscience center. The hypothesis that there was a positive relationship between exercise and resilience in persons with MS was not borne out in this population. r= 0.094 indicating that there was no relationship between exercise and resilience in persons with MS. Characteristics that may have contributed to the lower GLTEQ scores and the higher RS scores include that the sample was older, substantially unemployed, had suffered the impact of the disease for many years, and may have been living at a lower income level from those who more recently were diagnosed with MS. The convenience sample was somewhat homogeneous, and was missing younger persons who were in earlier stage of the disease. Recommended areas for future study and emphasis include; Targeting prevention from initial diagnosis instead of waiting until an MS patient has already suffered many negative outcomes. Studying a more active, fit subpopulation of MS patients may indicate a positive correlation between resilience and fitness, and therefore underscore the need for more structured, rigorous, aerobic exercise programs that would maintain and lead to fitness for those with MS.




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