Original research| Volume 99, ISSUE 4, P635-640, April 2018

Dual Task of Fine Motor Skill and Problem Solving in Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis: A Pilot Study

  • Y. Goverover
    Corresponding author Y. Goverover, PhD, OT, Department of Occupational Therapy, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, 82 Washington Square East, 6th Floor, New York University, New York, NY 10003.
    Department of Occupational Therapy, New York University, New York, NY

    Kessler Foundation, East Hanover, NJ
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  • B.M. Sandroff
    Kessler Foundation, East Hanover, NJ

    Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
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  • J. DeLuca
    Kessler Foundation, East Hanover, NJ

    Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rutgers University–New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ
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Published:November 03, 2017DOI:



      To (1) examine and compare dual-task performance in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and healthy controls (HCs) using mathematical problem-solving questions that included an everyday competence component while performing an upper extremity fine motor task; and (2) examine whether difficulties in dual-task performance are associated with problems in performing an everyday internet task.


      Pilot study, mixed-design with both a within and between subjects' factor.


      A nonprofit rehabilitation research institution and the community.


      Participants (N=38) included persons with MS (n=19) and HCs (n=19) who were recruited from a nonprofit rehabilitation research institution and from the community.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Participant were presented with 2 testing conditions: (1) solving mathematical everyday problems or placing bolts into divots (single-task condition); and (2) solving problems while putting bolts into divots (dual-task condition). Additionally, participants were required to perform a test of everyday internet competence.


      As expected, dual-task performance was significantly worse than either of the single-task tasks (ie, number of bolts into divots or correct answers, and time to answer the questions). Cognitive but not motor dual-task cost was associated with worse performance in activities of everyday internet tasks.


      Cognitive dual-task cost is significantly associated with worse performance of everyday technology. This was not observed in the motor dual-task cost. The implications of dual-task costs on everyday activity are discussed.


      List of abbreviations:

      ANOVA (analysis of variance), AR (Actual Reality), DT (dual task), DTC (dual-task cost), HC (healthy control), MS (multiple sclerosis), ST (single task)
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