Subjective Scale Is a Better Predictor of Fear of Falling than Objective Scale among Older Adults

By Christopher Olusanjo Akosile, Emmanuel C Okoye, Clementina Ukamaka Nwankwo, Najim Olayiwola Raji, Ogochukwu Nneamaka Umeonwuka and Asimiyu Bola Shittu.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 20, 2017 $US5.00

Older adults experience an elevated fear of falling (FOF), a phenomenon which has been associated with reduced physical function (PF). PF may be assessed subjectively with a rating scale or objectively with some physical performance tests. It is, however, not known if a subjective PF measure predicts the presence of FOF better than an objective measure. This study examined how well the objective and subjective PF measures correlate with and predict FOF in a Nigerian older adult sample. One hundred and eighty volunteering elderly individuals (mean age = 72.1± 7.0 years) recruited from six selected communities in Anambra State, Nigeria, participated in this study. The PF domain of the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) questionnaire (SF-PF) and the Physical Performance Test (PPT) were used for evaluating subjective and objective PF, respectively. FOF was assessed with the Fall Efficacy scale (FES). FOF prevalence rate was 34.4%. Mean PPT and SF-PF scores were 18.26± 4.82 and 51.03± 28.01, respectively, with 18.3% ranking as poor performers on the PPT scale and 64.4% as being dependent in function on the SF-PF scale. Significant relationships exist between participants’ FOF rank and their PPT scores (r=0.359, p =0.00) and SF-PF scores (r=0.373, p=0.00), respectively. The SF-PF and PPT scores would respectively account for 14.2% and 5.2% of the variance in predicting an individual likely to have FOF. Scores on the PPT and SF-PF both significantly correlated with participants’ FOF. The finding that the subjective scale is a better predictor of an individual with presence of FOF is important for clinicians for routine community screening especially those in resource-poor countries.

Keywords: Older Adults, Fear of Falling, Physical Function

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.87-96. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 20, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 626.913KB)).

Dr. Christopher Olusanjo Akosile

Associate Professor, Medical Rehabilitation Department, Faculty of Health Sciences and Technology, College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi, Nigeria

Emmanuel C Okoye

Lecturer, Medical Rehabilitation Department, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi, Anambra, Nigeria

Clementina Ukamaka Nwankwo

Lecturer, Nursing Sciences Department, College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi, Nigeria

Dr. Najim Olayiwola Raji

Senior Physiotherapist, Physiotherapy Department, Oyo State Hospital Management Board, Ibadan, Nigeria

Ogochukwu Nneamaka Umeonwuka

Physiotherapist, Anambra State Hospital Management Board, Awka, Anambra State,, Nigeria

Asimiyu Bola Shittu

Deputy Director, Physiotherapy Department, Oyo State Hospital Management Board, Ibadan, Oyo, Nigeria