Self-Efficacy May Affect Patients' Levels of Fatigue

Study suggests psychosocial mechanisms have role in fatigue response to physical activity
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Jan. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer survivors (BCS) and multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are likely to report less fatigue as a result of physical activity if they have a strong sense of self-efficacy and are not depressed, according to a study published online Nov. 30 in Psychosomatic Medicine.

Edward McAuley, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois in Urbana, and colleagues conducted a study of two groups of patients, 192 BCS and 292 patients with MS, to look at the role played by physical activity on fatigue in relation to self-efficacy and depression.

The researchers found that, in both groups, self-efficacy had a direct impact on fatigue and also indirectly affected fatigue levels through its impact on depressive symptoms. For the MS patients, there was a direct improvement in fatigue levels attributable to physical exercise.

"From a prevention perspective, it might be argued that disease-related fatigue can potentially be reduced by promoting physical activity participation for populations, such as BCS and those with MS," the authors write. "However, it seems that this relationship may be dependent on the provision of physical activity environments, which cultivate a strong sense of self-efficacy by providing performance feedback, social modeling, and persuasion."

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