Fear of Falling Does Not Alter the Kinematics of Recovery from an Induced Trip: A Preliminary Study

Objective: To provide preliminary information about the relationships between self-reported fear of falling (FOF) in healthy community-dwelling women, the number of falls, and recovery kinematics in response to a laboratory-induced trip. Design: Cohort study Setting: Clinical research laboratory Participants: A subset of community dwelling older women (N=33) recruited from studies of laboratory induced trips and fall-prevention. Intervention: A laboratory-induced trip. Main Outcome Measures: The number of fallers in the FOF vs. the control group. Recovery kinematics of FOF falls vs. control group falls, and FOF recoveries vs. control group recoveries were compared. The degree of FOF was assessed by Activities Balance Confidence Scale(ABC). Results: Falls occurred in 6/14 (43%) of the FOF and 4/16 (25%) of control subjects (p=0.26). Kinematics of FOF falls were similar to those of control falls. At the completion of the initialrecovery step, FOF showed significantly greater trunk extension velocity than controls (-82.1±- 66.1 vs. -25.0±-53.0 degrees/sec respectively; p=0.05). All other variables were not significantly different. ABC scores of FOF subjects did not differ significantly between fallers and those who recovered (mean=75.2±5.6, 71.1±11.8, respectively; p=0.84). Conclusion: Healthy community-dwelling older adults would benefit from fall prevention, regardless of the presence of self-reported FOF.

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