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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003 Jun;51(6):829-34.

Reducing fear of falling in seniors through education and activity programs: a randomized trial.

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Motor Performance Laboratory, School of RehabilitationTherapy, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.



To determine the relative effect of education and activity programs on fear of falling, balance, strength, and health status.


A randomized intervention trial with two groups (education and activity); evaluators were blind to group allocation.


Motor performance laboratory at Queen's University.


Thirty-eight community-dwelling seniors who reported a fear of falling and activity restriction but were free of neurological and mobility-limiting orthopedic conditions.


Programs designed to reduce fear of falling were delivered weekly to groups of three to five seniors for 8 weeks, each session lasting 1 hour. The activity program included low-resistance exercises and weight-shifting activities. Education focused on identifying and reducing risk factors for falls.


Balance confidence, activity level, limits of stability (LOS), isokinetic strength, and health status were measured twice preintervention (baseline), postintervention, and 6 weeks later.


Both programs reduced fear of falling (P <.006) as ascertained from the balance confidence scores. Differential effects were observed in LOS (P <.05); activity improved balance, whereas education led to modest declines. Gains in perception of health status were limited to physical health for the activity group and mental health for the education group. Benefits were generally sustained at follow-up.


Improved balance confidence is not intervention-specific, but associated changes in physical ability and health status are a function of the composition of the intervention program.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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