Change in balance confidence and its associations with increasing disability in older community-dwelling women at risk for falling

Kristine M.C. Talley, Jean F. Wyman, Cynthia R. Gross, Ruth A. Lindquist, Joseph E. Gaugler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objectives: To describe change in balance confidence, and to identify associated factors and disabling consequences. Method: Secondary analysis of 2 years of data collected from 272 older women enrolled in a randomized clinical trial of fall prevention. Balance confidence and disability measures were assessed at baseline, after the 12 week intervention, and at 1 and 2 years follow-up. Associated factors were measured at baseline. Results: Balance confidence varied at baseline and decreased 5% over 2 years, but no variables predicted this decline. Baseline balance confidence was associated with poor physical function and mental health. Decreasing balance confidence was associated with increasing impairments in balance and hip flexion strength, increasing functional limitations in mobility and chair rises, reduced physical activity levels, increased activity restrictions, and decreasing social networks. Discussion: Decreasing balance confidence plays an important role in disablement. More research is needed to identify predictors of decreasing balance confidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-636
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of aging and health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Dr. Talley received funding for this study from a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Nursing Research/National Institute of Health (1-F31-NR010170-01) and from the John A. Hartford Foundation’s Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Program. Data for this study came from a project supported by Grant R01 NR5107 from the National Institute of Nursing Research and the Office of Research on Women’s Health, Bethesda, Maryland. The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.


  • balance confidence
  • disability
  • falls
  • fear of falling


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