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Phys Ther. 1997 Sep;77(9):904-17.

Use of the "fast evaluation of mobility, balance, and fear" in elderly community dwellers: validity and reliability.

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  • 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.



Identifying elderly community dwellers who are at risk for falling was assessed using a comprehensive screening tool referred to as the "Fast Evaluation of Mobility, Balance, and Fear" (FEMBAF). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the concurrent validity and reliability of scores on the FEMBAF.


Thirty-five elderly persons living in the community (4 men, 31 women), with a mean age 79.9 years (SD = 8.5, range = 60-92), participated.


Subjects were tested using the FEMBAF and three other instruments-the balance subscale of the Tinetti Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment (B-POMA), the Clinical Test of Sensory Interaction on Balance (CTSIB), and the Timed Up and Go Test. Scores on the FEMBAF were compared with scores on each the other instruments using Spearman rank-order correlation coefficients and analysis of covariance (with age as the covariate) for living status and diagnostic category. A comparison of the number of subjects classified as being at risk for falling was done descriptively for the FEMBAF, B-POMA, and CTSIB.


Associations (r > .35) were found between the FEMBAF and each of the other instruments in the areas of FEMBAF risk-factor count, task completion, mobility, and strength. The FEMBAF classified a greater number of subjects as being at risk for falling (89%) compared with the B-POMA (43%) and the CTSIB (63%). The mean chance-corrected percentage of agreement between raters on the FEMBAF was kappa = .95 (SD = .15) for assessment of risk factors and kappa = .96 (SD = .12) for task completion.


The FEMBAF provides valid and reliable measurements of risk factors, functional performance, and factors that hinder mobility.

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