Comparison of sedentary behaviour questionnaires in people with multiple sclerosis

Marianne Hensman, Robert W Motl, Lara A Pilutti, Sally A M Fenton, Joan L Duda, Michael Douglas, Jet J C S Veldhuijzen van Zanten

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BACKGROUND: People with multiple sclerosis are at risk of developing co-morbidities associated with sedentary behaviour. Despite an increase in studies examining sedentary behaviour in multiple sclerosis, researchers have not yet examined the appropriateness of the content or format of questionnaires assessing sedentary behaviour in multiple sclerosis.

OBJECTIVE: Evaluate perceptions of sedentary behaviour questionnaires for people with multiple sclerosis.

METHODS: Fifteen people with multiple sclerosis completed six validated sedentary behaviour questionnaires: Longitudinal Ageing Study Amsterdam, Marshall Sitting Questionnaire, International Physical Activity Questionnaire, Measure of Older Adults Sedentary Time, Sedentary Behaviour Questionnaire and SIT-Q. Participants' perceptions regarding questionnaire content and format were explored by interviews.

RESULTS: Self-reported sedentary time ranged between a mean of 470 (standard deviation 260) (Measure of Older Adults Sedentary Time) and 782 (322) min (Longitudinal Ageing Study Amsterdam) per weekday. Analysis of variance revealed a significant effect of questionnaire on mean sitting time: Longitudinal Ageing Study Amsterdam and SIT-Q yielded higher mean estimates of weekday sitting time than other questionnaires. The questionnaires were viewed as being suitable for use in multiple sclerosis but failed to capture some sedentary activities. Variability of symptoms yielded difficulties in describing a "typical day".

CONCLUSIONS: The questionnaires were considered suitable for multiple sclerosis but produced variation in estimated sedentary time. Future work might validate questionnaire data with device-based assessments of sedentary time. Implications for rehabilitation Self-reported sitting time ranged from 7.8 to 13.0 h per day in people with multiple sclerosis. Sedentary behaviour questionnaires are suitable for multiple sclerosis but yield variable estimates of sitting time. Watching television was the most prevalent sedentary activity and may have implications for interventions that break up sedentary time.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Early online date18 Apr 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Apr 2019


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • questionnaire
  • sedentary behaviour
  • self-report
  • sitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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