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Gait Posture. 2006 Dec;24(4):397-405. Epub 2006 Oct 20.

The effect of anxiety on the regulation of upright standing among younger and older adults.

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  • 1Balance Research Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alta. T1K 3M4, Canada.


We tested the hypothesis that fall anxiety would differentially influence the regulation of upright standing among younger and among older adults. Fall anxiety was imposed by a manipulation of environmental context that increased the threat to postural control by introducing the potential for injurious consequences should a fall occur. Fifteen younger and 15 older adults participated in this study. Regardless of age, postural control was more conservative when fall anxiety increased, however, age did not affect how anxiety influenced the regulation of postural control. Our findings imply that the motor consequences of fall anxiety are no more pervasive for older adults than for younger adults, and that age does not alter the ability to accommodate to environmental demands that heighten fall anxiety.

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