The purpose of this study was to determine if self-reported exercise status (exercise, nonexercise) and ambulatory status (aid, no aid) discriminate between balance performance and balance self-efficacy of older adults, ages 65 to 95 years. Participants were 14 males and 46 females in a retirement home that contained a supervised fitness center. An activities-specific balance confidence scale and three balance performance tests yielded data. Data from males and females were combined because independent t tests revealed no significant gender differences. The Mann Whitney U test revealed that (a) exercisers (M age = 83.4) scored significantly higher than nonexercisers (M age = 83.7) on all measures, and (b) nonaid users (M age = 83.5) scored significantly higher than aid users (M age = 83.7). Findings indicate that regular exercise (at least 30 min per day, 3 days per week) and ambulation without a cane or walker are descriptors of older adults with good balance performance and high balance self-efficacy.
Suzanne C. Hoeppner was at Northern Illinois University during the time of this study. She now lives in Florida. James H. Rimmer is with the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60608-6904.