Fear of Falling and Balance Ability in Older Men: The Priest Study

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Studies examining fear of falling among older adult men remain limited. The objectives of this study were to compare balance confidence in 2 age cohorts of older clergy and identify predictive determinants of balance confidence in a liturgical research initiative. Participants included 131 community-dwelling Roman Catholic priests age 60–97 yr living in religious communities in 10 mid-Atlantic states. Subjects completed the Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), timed up-and-go (TUG) test, and 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Younger priests (60–74 yr) demonstrated a significantly higher ABC score than the older cohort (75 and above yr) of priests (89.1 ± 12.6 vs.78.4 ± 13.9, p = .001). Confidence was significantly correlated with BBS (rho = .69, p < .01), TUG (r = –.58, p < .01), and GDS (r = –.39, p < .01) scores. A stepwise-regression model demonstrated that balance ability, mood, assistive-device use, and physical activity predicted 52% of the variance in balance confidence.

Klima is with the Dept. of Physical Therapy, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD. Newton and Keshner are with the Dept. of Physical Therapy, and Davey, the Dept. of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.