Date of Award

5-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Human Ecology

Major Professor

Diane Klein

Committee Members

Jim Neutens, June Gorski, John Orme, Buck Jones

Abstract

This study investigated the impact of a four-week foam-support balance training program on falls self-efficacy in assisted-living older adults. A Falls Self-Efficacy Scale (FES) and four balance performance measures (single-leg stand, tandem stand, functional reach, and eight-foot up-and-go) were completed to measure functional status and fear of falling. The sample consisted of fifteen older adults from two separate assisted-living facilities. Participants (N = 8) from one facility served as the control group, while those (N = 7) from the other facility represented the intervention group. There were 6 females and 2 males in the control group ranging in age from 79 to 86 years (M = 83, SD = 3.52). The 3 females and 4 males in the intervention group, ranged in age from 86 to 93 years (M = 89, SD = 2.73). FES scales and balance measures were completed on the same day. The pre-test-adjusted post-test mean for falls efficacy level in the intervention group (M = 13.82) was less than in the control group (M = 16.73). Pre-test‑adjusted post-test means for single-leg stand, tandem stand, and functional reach scores for the intervention group were higher than those for the control group, (M = 5.50 vs. M = 3.35; M = 308.55 vs. M = 171.73; M = 11.40 vs. M = 10.34, respectively). For the eight-foot up-and-go test, the pre-test‑adjusted post-test mean score for the intervention group (M = 11.81) was lower than for the control group (M = 12.3). Results suggest that the older adults who participated in the four-week balance training program may have reduced their fear of falling and improved their balance; however, there were no statistically significant differences between the groups, except for the single-leg stand.

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