Do Older Adults’ Beliefs About Their Community Mobility Predict Walking Performance?

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Among older adults, preserving community mobility (CM) is important for maintaining independent living. We explored whether perceptions of the environment and self-efficacy for CM (SE-CM) would predict walking performance for tasks reflecting CM. We hypothesized that perceptions of the environment and SE-CM would be additive predictors of walking performance on tasks reflecting the complexity of CM. Independent living older adults (N = 60) aged 64-85 completed six complex walking tasks (CWTs), SE-CM, and the environmental analysis of mobility questionnaire (EAMQ). Multiple regression analyses indicated that for each CWT, the EAMQ scales predicted walking performance (range: model R2Adj. = .078 to .139, p < .04). However, when SE-CM was added to the models, it was the sole significant predictor (p < .05). Contrary to our hypotheses, SE-CM was the best predictor in the additive models. SE-CM may be more correspondent to walking tests and thus a more sensitive predictor of CM walking performance.

Sessford, Brawley, and Forbes are with the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. Jung is with the University of British Columbia-Okanogan, Kelowna, Canada. Address author correspondence to James D. Sessford at Jds255@mail.usask.ca.