A thematic synthesis considering the factors which influence multiple sclerosis related fatigue during physical activity

Sofia Mezini, Andrew Soundy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
232 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this study is to consider the factors that influence fatigue related to physical activity in patients with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) and to identify the necessary adaptations undertaken by patients to remain active. A review using a thematic synthesis methodology situated within a subtle realist paradigm was undertaken. The review was completed in three stages: 1) search of relevant studies; 2) critical appraisal of literature; and 3) thematic synthesis. Nineteen studies met the inclusion criteria. This included a total of 263 participants of whom 243 were PwMS (159 females, 70 males and 14 unknown). The aggregated mean age was 53.3 years and aggregated mean time living with MS post diagnosis 11.3 years. Following critical appraisal, no articles were excluded. Three major themes were identified: (1) fatigue-related consequences, (2) exercise related barriers affecting fatigue, and (3) factors that make fatigue bearable for MS individuals. The thematic synthesis identified the cycle of activity and inactivity as a result of fatigue perception. Exercise experience, professional and social support, as well as the necessary adaptation of a training programme empower PwMS to adopt a more active coping strategy and enjoy the benefits of exercise. Clinicians could consider the implementation of a suitable, individualised exercise programme to reduce PwMS’s stress during physical activities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number70
Number of pages23
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • multiple sclerosis
  • fatigue
  • exercise
  • physical activity
  • experience
  • qualitative
  • meta-synthesis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Physical activity
  • Meta-synthesis
  • Fatigue
  • Qualitative
  • Experience
  • Exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Development
  • Genetics
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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