Dual-Task Conditions on Static Postural Control in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Dual-task (DT) consists of the performance of two tasks simultaneously. An index of DT difficulty has been linked to decreased postural control. Because a wide range of DT is employed, this study aimed to evaluate its effects in static balance in older adults. PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus were screened, and the secondary tasks were grouped as manual, reaction time, discrimination and decision making, mental tracking, verbal fluency, working memory, or “other” tasks. A total of 66 studies have been included. The meta-analysis was conducted on 28 effects and showed a significant mean effect size of d = 0.24 (p = .02, SE = 0.10; confidence interval [0.04, 0.44]), indicating a worsening in stability during DT. In conclusion, postural control was worsened by the Stroop test and the arithmetic tasks improved it. The results do not underpin any conclusive statement on the impact of DT, and a standard operating procedure was created.

Petrigna and Gentile are with the PhD Program in Health Promotion and Cognitive Sciences, Department of Psychology, Educational Science and Human Movement, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy. Petrigna, Gentile, Thomas, Palma, and Bianco are with the Department of Psychology, Educational Science and Human Movement, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy. Mani is with the Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA. Pajaujiene is with the Department of Coaching Science, Lithuanian Sports University, Kaunas, Lithuania. Zanotto is with the Centre of Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Paoli is with the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Padova, Italy. Palma is also with the Regional Sport School of CONI Sicilia, Italian National Olympic Committee, Sicily, Italy.

Petrigna (luca.petrigna@unipa.it) is corresponding author.
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