Background: Despite the benefits of regular physical activity (PA), most adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) are insufficiently active. Identifying the motivational correlates of PA is necessary to facilitate health behavior change. The extent to which the constructs of psychological need satisfaction and motivational regulations associate with self-determined PA in adults with the disease was examined.

Methods: Individuals with MS were provided a link to a web-based survey. There were 290 respondents: 242 women and 48 men aged 22 to 71 (mean ± SD, 49.50 ± 12.05) years with primarily mild-to-moderate mobility impairment who completed the Psychological Need Satisfaction in Exercise scale, the Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire, and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire.

Results: Path analysis revealed that PA was best predicted by integrated regulation, competence, and mobility, explaining 28% of the variance in PA behavior. All three need satisfaction variables (relatedness, competence, and autonomy) and mobility impairment accounted for 43% of the variance in integrated regulation.

Conclusions: Increasing satisfaction of the need for relatedness, competence, and autonomy can lead to more integrated and internally motivated PA engagement in adults with MS.

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