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Age Ageing. 2007 May;36(3):304-9. Epub 2007 Mar 22.

Prevalence and correlates of fear of falling, and associated avoidance of activity in the general population of community-living older people.

Author information

1
Maastricht University, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Department of Health Care Studies, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. R.Zijlstra@zw.unimaas.nl

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Little is known about the prevalence rates and correlates of fear of falling and avoidance of activity due to fear of falling in the general population of community-living older people.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess prevalence rates and study correlates of fear of falling and avoidance of activity due to fear of falling in this population.

STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING:

cross-sectional study in 4,031 community-living people aged > or =70 years.

RESULTS:

Fear of falling was reported by 54.3% and associated avoidance of activity by 379% of our population. Variables independently associated with fear of falling were: higher age (> or =80 years: odds ratio (OR) =1.79; 95% confidence interval (CI) =1.49-2.16), female gender (OR = 3.23; 95% CI = 2.76-3.79), poor perceived general health (OR = 6.93; 95% CI = 4.70-10.21) and multiple falls (OR = 5.72; 95% CI = 4.40-7.43). Higher age (> or =80 years: OR = 1.92; 95% CI = 1.59-2.32), poor perceived general health (OR = 11.91; 95% CI = 8.38-16.95) and multiple falls (OR = 4.64; 95% CI = 3.73-5.76) were also independently associated with avoidance of activity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Fear of falling and avoidance of activities due to fear of falling, were highly prevalent in our sample of community-living older people. Particularly, poor perceived general health showed a strong, independent association with both, fear of falling, and related avoidance of activity. Findings of our study may help health care professionals to identify people eligible for interventions aimed at reducing fear of falling and activity restriction.

PMID:
17379605
DOI:
10.1093/ageing/afm021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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