All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Rob W Motl

Advisory Committee Members

Brooks Wingo

Jayne Ness

Elizabeth Barstow

Laura Vogtle

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Health Professions


Pediatric onset multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and disabling disease of the central nervous system with an onset before 18 years of age. Youth with pediatric onset MS may benefit from physical activity as evidenced by past research suggestsing higher levels of physical activity are associated with reduced physical and psychosocial disease manifestations. Unfortunately, published estimates of physical activity participation among those with pediatric onset MS are very low (<10 min/day). This dissertation aimed to describe the current literature regarding physical activity among youth with pediatric MS, and to further explore experiences, patterns, correlates, and potential confounders of physical activity for the ultimate purpose of informing future behavior change interventions. Results are presented through five single study chapters. Briefly, interventions developed to promote physical activity for adolescents with pediatric onset MS should be individually tailored, include a strong social component, aim to educate regarding safety and outcomes of physical activity, and differentially target weekday and weekend day activity and sedentary behavior. Social cognitive theory (SCT) is an appropriate method for promoting physical activity behavior change among youth with pediatric onset MS, and SCT constructs including exercise goal setting, barriers self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and social support should be incorporated in the intervention as appropriate. Further, physical activity is seemingly an appropriate method for the management of functional limitations for youth with pediatric onset MS. Clinicians and researchers seeking to promote physical activity among those with pediatric onset MS may find this dissertation especially useful in providing a framework for the development of behavior change interventions.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.