Predictors of the fear of falling among community-dwelling elderly Portuguese people: an exploratory study

Sónia Cristina Antunes dos Santos Daniela Maria Pias de Figueiredo About the authors

Abstract

The fear of falling constitutes a real risk factor for falls. It has also been associated with functional decline, decreased quality of life and increased social isolation among the elderly population. This study analyzed predictors of the fear of falling in elderly Portuguese people that live in the community. A cross-sectional study with a convenience sample of 98 participants (57.1% women; mean age 74.07 ± 8.74 years) was conducted. Data were collected with a protocol which includes a questionnaire for sociodemographic and health information, the Activity Specific Balance Confidence Scale, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Lubben Social Network Scale-6, the Timed Up and Go, and Five Times Sit to Stand Test. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The results showed that female gender (p = 0.01), the perception of good (p = 0.01) and moderate (p = 0.02) physical health and the symptoms of depression (p ≈ 0.00) are predictors of fear of falling. Controlling these predictors is a fundamental aspect for promoting the independence of elderly people minimizing the consequences that are associated with the fear of falling.

Key words
Elderly people; Fear of falling; Predictors; Community

ABRASCO - Associação Brasileira de Saúde Coletiva Av. Brasil, 4036 - sala 700 Manguinhos, 21040-361 Rio de Janeiro RJ - Brazil, Tel.: +55 21 3882-9153 / 3882-9151 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil
E-mail: cienciasaudecoletiva@fiocruz.br