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Keywords:

  • self-efficacy;
  • cerebrovascular accident;
  • randomized;
  • controlled trial;
  • balance;
  • walking

Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy of a task-oriented walking intervention in improving balance self-efficacy in persons with stroke and to determine whether effects were task-specific, influenced by baseline level of self-efficacy and associated with changes in walking and balance capacity.

Design: Secondary analysis of a two-center, observer-blinded, randomized, controlled trial.

Setting: General community.

Participants: Ninety-one individuals with a residual walking deficit within 1 year of a first or recurrent stroke.

Intervention: Task-oriented interventions targeting walking or upper extremity (UE) function were provided three times a week for 6 weeks.

Measurements: Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale, Six-Minute Walk Test, 5-m walk, Berg Balance Scale, and Timed “Up and Go” administered at baseline and postintervention.

Results: The walking intervention was associated with a significantly greater average proportional change in balance self-efficacy than the UE intervention. Treatment effects were largest in persons with low self-efficacy at baseline and for activities relating to tasks practiced. In the walking group, change in balance self-efficacy correlated with change in functional walking capacity (correlation coefficient=0.45, 95% confidence interval=0.16–0.68). Results of multivariable modeling suggested effect modification by the baseline level of depressive symptoms and a prognostic influence of age, sex, comorbidity, time poststroke, and functional mobility on change in self-efficacy.

Conclusion: Task-oriented walking retraining enhances balance self-efficacy in community-dwelling individuals with chronic stroke. Benefits may be partially the result of improvement in walking capacity. The influence of baseline level of self-efficacy, depressive symptoms, and prognostic variables on treatment effects are of clinical importance and must be verified in future studies.