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Journal Article

Falls efficacy and self-rated health in older African American adults

Fear of falling and mobility restrictions have a significant negative impact on the quality of life of older adults. Because older African American adults are at increased risk for various modifiable health problems, understanding potential constraints on their overall health and mobility is critical in this population. The current study investigated this issue by analyzing a dataset of 449 older African American adults (mean age=72.3 years) living in Detroit. We characterized and investigated the relationships among the following falls- and health-related variables: previous falls, falls efficacy, mobility, self-rated health (SRH), and depression and well-being. As a whole, participants reported moderate health and well-being, little depression, few mobility problems (mean=8.4/40), and very high falls efficacy (mean=94.9/100) despite the fact that a quarter of the sample experienced a fall within the past year. Correlation results indicated that previous falls, falls efficacy, mobility, SRH and depression and well-being were all inter-related. Regression analyses revealed that higher falls efficacy was more closely associated with better SRH than was having previously fallen. Findings suggest that improving falls efficacy in older African American adults may be beneficial to their mobility and overall health and well-being. Further, by asking a single-item SRH question, clinicians may be able to quickly identify older African American adults who have low falls efficacy and are at high risk for falling.

C. Tiernan
C. Lysack
S. Neufeld
A. Goldberg
P.A. Lichtenberg
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