Examining the relationship between falls self-efficacy and postural sway in community-dwelling older adults
The most common cause for both fatal and nonfatal injuries for older adults in the U.S. is experiencing a fall. Researchers are interested in identifying variables which may help predict a person’s likelihood of falling to create targeted, preventative initiatives. Previous research has explored the relationship between psychosocial and biophysical fall predictors on fall outcomes but rarely explores the ontological lens which surrounds how these finding are interpreted. The purpose of this study was to further examine the relationship between falls self-efficacy and postural sway, in community-dwelling, aging adults (N=107, mean age 73.8, + 7.95, female 80) to bring a more robust understanding of fall risk assessment using a Biopsychosocial (BPS) perspective through the International Classification of Functioning model (ICF). The Modified Falls Efficacy Scale measured fall self-efficacy and the BTrackS balance assessment system measured postural sway. A moderate negative correlation was found between falls self-efficacy and eyes open postural sway (r = -.403, p < .001.), indicating that as a person’s self-efficacy score increases, their sway decreases, in line with previous studies. Participants experienced overall high self-efficacy, stellar balance performance for their age group, and low self-reported falls, leading one to wonder what variables cause the decline in performance and competence and/or contribute to a fall in such a group. Using a BPS perspective through the ICF, researchers suggest further exploration into the role that ableism and fear of disability play in the decline, and the responsibility of clinicians to disrupt anti-ableist narratives within rehabilitation and research.
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