Research Article  |   March 2012
Fear of Falling and Its Relationship With Anxiety, Depression, and Activity Engagement Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults
Author Affiliations
  • Jane A. Painter, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Occupational Therapy Department, College of Allied Health Sciences, East Carolina University, 3305 F Health Sciences Building, Greenville, NC 27858; painterj@ecu.edu
  • Leslie Allison, PT, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy Department, College of Allied Health Sciences, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • Puneet Dhingra, OTR/L, is Staff Occupational Therapist, Windsor Country Drive Care Center (Aegis Therapies), Fremont, CA
  • Justin Daughtery, OTR/L, is Staff Occupational Therapist, Swedish Covenant Hospital, Chicago
  • Kira Cogdill, OTR/L, is Staff Occupational Therapist, Duke Raleigh Hospital, Raleigh, NC
  • Leonard G. Trujillo, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Associate Professor and Chair, Occupational Therapy Department, College of Allied Health Sciences, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Mental Health / Special Issue on Occupational Therapy Opportunities in Fall Prevention
Research Article   |   March 2012
Fear of Falling and Its Relationship With Anxiety, Depression, and Activity Engagement Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2012, Vol. 66, 169-176. doi:10.5014/ajot.2012.002535
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2012, Vol. 66, 169-176. doi:10.5014/ajot.2012.002535
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. This study examined (1) the relationship of fear of falling to depression, anxiety, activity level, and activity restriction and (2) whether depression or anxiety predicted fear of falling, activity level, activity restriction, or changes in activity level.

METHOD. We administered the Survey of Activities and Fear of Falling in the Elderly; the Geriatric Depression Scale–30; and the Hamilton Anxiety Scale, IVR Version, during a one-time visit to 99 community-dwelling adults ≥55 yr old.

RESULTS. We found significant relationships between (1) fear of falling and depression, anxiety, and activity level; (2) depression and anxiety; and (3) activity restriction and depression. Activity level was negatively correlated with activity restriction, fear of falling, depression, and anxiety. Anxiety predicted both fear of falling and activity level. Both anxiety and depression predicted activity restriction because of fear of falling and for other reasons.

CONCLUSION. Occupational therapy practitioners should consider screening their older adult clientele for fear of falling, anxiety, and depression because these states may lead to fall risk and activity restriction.