Reducing the fear of falling among community-dwelling elderly adults through cognitive-behavioural strategies and intense Tai Chi exercise: a randomized controlled trial

Authors


T.-T. Huang:
e-mail: thuang@mail.cgu.edu.tw

Abstract

huang t.-t., yang l.-h. & liu c.-y. (2011) Reducing the fear of falling among community-dwelling elderly adults through cognitive-behavioural strategies and intense Tai Chi exercise: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(5), 961–971.

Abstract

Aim.  To examine the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioural strategies with/without intense Tai Chi exercise in reducing fear of falling among community-dwelling elderly adults.

Background.  Fear of falling is a major health problem among community-dwelling older persons. The prevalence of this fear ranges from 29% to 77%, indicating the importance of developing effective strategies to reduce fear of falling among elderly adults.

Methods.  Data were collected from January to December 2007. A randomized controlled trial with three groups (control, cognitive-behavioural and cognitive-behavioural with Tai Chi). Participants were assessed at baseline for demographic data, falls-related history, and fear of falling. Data on these variables plus falls, mobility, social support behaviour and satisfaction, and quality of life were also collected at 2 and 5 months after interventions.

Results.  Participants in the three groups differed significantly in both measures of fear of falling (F = 20·89, < 0·001; F = 6·09, < 0·001) and mobility (F = 30·33, < 0·001), social support behaviour and satisfaction (F = 3·32, < 0·05 and F = 6·35, < 0·001, respectively), and quality of life (F = 16·66, < 0·001). In addition, participants who received the cognitive-behavioural intervention with Tai Chi had significantly lower fear of falling scores (< 0·001) and higher mobility (< 0·001), social support satisfaction (< 0·01) and quality of life (< 0·001) than the cognitive-behavioural alone and control groups at 5 months. The three groups did not differ significantly in falls.

Conclusion.  The results of this trial suggest that the cognitive-behavioural intervention with Tai Chi exercise helped community-dwelling elderly adults to enhance their mobility, to manage their fear of falling and to increase their quality of life.

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