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Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

First Advisor

Laurie Lundy-Ekman, PhD, PT

Second Advisor

Nancy Cicirello, MPH, PT


Falling in the elderly is a matter of great consequence. Falling can lead to death, or a combination of injury and or fear of falling (operationally defined as low perceived self-efficacy), which may compromise an older person's independence and functional ability. Less functional ability may result in a decrease in level of activity and lead to further physical decline, decreased balance performance, and increased likelihood of future falls. The main objective of this study was to explore the relationship between self-efficacy in completing daily tasks without falling and objective balance performance in the elderly. The results showed only low correlations between falls efficacy and two measures of balance--spontaneous postural sway and functional reach (FR). Conclusions drawn from this study were a) the Falls Efficacy Scale (FES) is not a good predictor of balance, b) postural sway and FR are not comparable measures of balance, c) FR is a reliable test of balance, and d) the FES may be useful in identifying those at risk of falling due to decreased awareness of their balance deficits.


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