Health behaviours and outcomes in people with Multiple Sclerosis

Project Details

Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects one in 1000 Australians, 2.3 million people worldwide, and is often diagnosed in people between 20-40 years old. It affects more women than men, and can cause severe disability over time. Common symptoms and comorbidities are fatigue, muscle weakness, vision impairment, pain and depression. The cause is still unknown, and while there are treatments to prevent relapses (onset of new symptoms caused by inflammation in the central nervous system), there is no cure.

In the last decade, research started to show that modifiable factors such as smoking, obesity, low vitamin D, and sedentary behaviour contribute to the risk of developing MS, as well as worse health outcomes in those with MS. Dr Claudia Marck is investigating how exercise, smoking and diet are associated with health outcomes such as mental health, pain, mobility and relapses in people with MS. Data from cohort studies such as the Australian MS Longitudinal Study (AMSLS) and Health Outcomes and Lifestyle In a Sample of people with MS (HOLISM) are used to study these associations.

Less is known about how to assist people with MS to change these health behaviours, and whether changing these behaviours leads to better MS outcomes. This research is about understanding behaviour change and therefore investigates behaviour change interventions in people with MS using longitudinal datasets and qualitative methods.


National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship

Research Publications

  1. Marck CH, Aitken Z, Weilland T, Kavanagh A & Jelinkek G.  Predictors of change in employment status and associations with quality of life: a prospective international study of people with multiple sclerosis. J Occ Rehabilitation. 2019 Aug 7.
  2. Marck CH, das Nair R, Grech LB, Borland R & Constantinescu CS. Modifiable risk factors for poor health outcomes in multiple sclerosis: The urgent need for research to maximise smoking cessation success. MS Journal  2019;1-6.

Research Group

School Research Themes

Prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (including cancer), and promotion of mental health, Disparities, disadvantage and effective health care

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Equity

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