Impact of Psychosocial Factors on Functional Improvement in Latino Older Adults After Tai Chi Exercise

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Increasing evidence underscores the health benefits of Tai Chi (TC), although there is limited evidence of benefits among racial and ethnic minorities. This study investigated the impact of psychosocial status on balance among 23 Latino seniors after a twice-a-week, 12-week TC exercise program. Functional status was measured at baseline, immediately after, and three months following the TC exercise program, using the Timed Up and Go Test and Tinetti Falls Efficacy Scale. Psychosocial status was measured at baseline by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire. Both measures of functional status improved and were sustained after three months of TC. Greater improvement was significantly related to a higher level of baseline social support. More depressed seniors reported less fear of falling after TC. Depression and social support are important moderators of functional improvement after TC among Latino seniors.

Siu is with the Division of Physical Therapy Education, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE. Rajaram is with the College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE. Padilla is with the Intercultural Senior Center, Omaha, NE. Address author correspondence to Ka-Chun Siu at kcsiu@unmc.edu.