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Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

First Advisor

Nancy Cicirello, M.P.H., P.T.

Second Advisor

John Medeiros, P.T., Ph.D.


Normative values of postural sway have been established for age populations of 7-12 years, and 21 years and older, but these values have yet to be defined in children 4-6 years. The purpose of this study was to gather data on balance in children without balance deficits in order to provide data that can be used for criterion based comparisons. This study had a sample of 63 subjects ranging in age from 4-6 years old. The subjects were randomly selected from Portland, Oregon metropolitan area pre-schools, elementary schools, and day care centers. Parents of each participant signed an informed consent
form and completed a questionnaire to indicate that the child was free of impairments that may affect his/her balance. Exclusionary criteria included sensory deficits, developmental or congenital disorders, medications, or recent medical problems. In addition, a brief biomechanical screening was performed prior to testing. Assessment of postural sway using the Chattecx Balance System™ included the quantitative analysis of: 1) static stance with eyes open, 2) static stance with eyes closed, 3) dynamic stance with eyes open, 4) dynamic stance with eyes closed, and 5) static stance with eyes open with a distraction. The Chattecx Balance System™ was used to measure postural sway and
changes of pressure via the dispersion index. This data was then compared among age groups and the varying test conditions. Results showed three significant findings: 1)postural sway increased in eyes closed conditions, 2)postural sway increased in dynamic conditions, 3) postural sway increased with distraction versus static eyes open condition. The data suggests that the different test conditions influence postural sway, however age does not appear to be a factor.


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