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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Texas A&M: Researchers Study Factors Affecting Functional Mobility and Fear of Falling Among Older Adults

Research suggests that fall-related efficacy (FE), a confidence in the ability to engage in activities without falling, may act as a mediating factor in the relationship between the fear of falling (FOF) and functional mobility. A new study in the American Journal of Health Behavior, by Dr. Aya Yoshikawa and Dr. Matthew Lee Smith of the Texas A&M School of Public Health, further examined the mediating effects of a new FE scale known as the Perceived Ability to Prevent and Manage Fall Risks (PAPMFR). They used data on older adults participating in a fall-prevention program, A Matter of Balance Volunteer Lay Leader Model (AMOB/VLL), which aims to reduce FOF and risk of falling through a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and physical exercise.

“The PAPMFR scale measures the multidimensional domains of the perceived ability to prevent falls by rating steadiness, balance while walking, ability to walk in the home and outdoors, ability to prevent falls and ability to find ways to get up in the event of a fall,” stated Dr. Yoshikawa.

The researchers found that AMOB/VLL participants reduced FOF and increased PAPMFR and functional mobility after the program. Their analysis found that the effect of FOF on functional mobility was attenuated by improved PAPMFR, which consists of three dimensions of FE: steadiness/balance, gait, and fall management. This indicates that AMOB/VLL meets its goals of improving functional mobility and reducing FOF.

“Our findings support the effectiveness of this multi-factorial intervention that combines cognitive-behavioral therapy and physical exercise to increase FE and fall management while improving functional mobility among older adults,” said Dr. Yoshikawa.