Level of adherence to prescribed exercise in spondyloarthritis and factors affecting this adherence: a systematic review

MT McDonald, S Siebert, EH Coulter, DA McDonald, L Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
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Adherence is a primary determinant of the effectiveness of any intervention. Exercise is considered essential in the management of spondyloarthritis (SpA); however, the overall adherence to exercise programmes and factors affecting adherence are unknown. The aim of this systematic review was to examine measures of, and factors influencing adherence to, prescribed exercise programmes in people with SpA. A search was performed in August 2018 using five data bases; the Cochrane library, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, and Web of Science Collections. Inclusion criteria were: studies with adults (> 18 years) with SpA, with a prescribed exercise intervention or educational programme with the aim of increasing exercise participation. Article quality was independently assessed by two assessors. Extracted descriptive data included: populations, interventions, measures of adherence and factors affecting adherence. Percentage adherence rates to prescribed exercises were calculated if not reported. Nine studies were included with a total of 658 participants, 95% of participants had a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis. Interventions and measurement of adherence varied, making comparisons difficult. Rates of adherence ranged from 51.4 to 95%. Single studies identified; adherence improved following educational programmes, and higher disease severity and longer diagnostic delays were associated with higher adherence. Conflicting evidence was found as to whether supervision of exercise improved adherence. Three consecutive studies demonstrated adherence reduced over time. Adherence to prescribed exercise in SpA was poorly reported and predominately for people with AS. The levels of adherence and factors affecting prescribed exercise in SpA remain unclear. Future research should measure adherence across a longer time period and investigate possible factors which may influence adherence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-201
Number of pages15
JournalRheumatology International
Issue number2
Early online date16 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2019


  • spondyloarthritis
  • adherence
  • exercise
  • physiotherapy


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