Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Falls and the fall-related psychological concerns associated with these events pose a serious public health problem among aging adults. Fall-related psychological instruments can be useful in quantifying important endpoints for fall prevention programs (Jorstad et al., 2005), yet no research currently exists to justify the use of these psychological instruments in a community-based falls risk screening. Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation was to examine the psychometric properties of several fall-related psychological measures in a falls risk screening context by: (a) examining the reliability and validity of the Falls Efficacy Scale-International (FES-I), Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC), modified Survey of Activities and Fear of Falling in the Elderly (mSAFFE), and Consequences of Falling (CoF) instruments, and (b) testing the sensitivity of one fall-related psychological instrument over a 12-month period in a sample of independent-living older adults. For study one, participants were 133 independent-living older adults between the ages of 51 and 95 years (M age = 74.4 yr, SD = 9.4) from nine community facilities who participated in a falls risk screening. Results from study one revealed that the FES-I, ABC, mSAFFE, and CoF were significantly moderately to strongly correlated with each other, health-related quality of life, and mobility, and demonstrated adequate internal consistency reliability. Further, results showed that only the ABC and the mSAFFE were moderately correlated with physical activity, and only the ABC could differentiate between fallers and non-fallers. Study one results also revealed that the ABC explained the most variance in total falls risk score as compared to the other measures. For study two, participants were 22 independent-living older adults between the ages of 55 and 92 (M age = 74.2 yr, SD = 11.3) who participated in two falls risk screenings over an approximate 12-month period. Results from study two revealed that the ABC was not sensitive to change in a falls risk screening context, U = 45.0, p = .52. Collectively, findings from the dissertation studies can be used to help researchers select the appropriate fall-related psychological instrument for use in a community-based falls risk screening context.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Rebecca Ellis

Included in

Kinesiology Commons