Mobility measures differentiate falls risk status in persons with multiple sclerosis: An exploratory study

Emerson Sebastião, Yvonne C. Learmonth, Robert W. Motl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Falls are of great concern among persons with multiple sclerosis (MS). OBJECTIVE: To examine differences in metrics of mobility, postural control, and cognition in persons with MS with distinct fall risk status; and to investigate predictors of fall risk group membership using discriminant analysis. METHODS: Forty-seven persons with MS completed the Activities-Balance Confidence (ABC) Scale and underwent a battery of assessments of mobility, balance, and cognition. Participants further wore an accelerometer for 7 days as an assessment of steps/day. Participants were allocated into fall risk groups based on ABC scale scores (increased fall risk (IFR); and normal fall risk (NFR)). We examined univariate differences between groups using ANOVA, and discriminant function analysis (DFA) identified the significant multivariate predictors of FR status. RESULTS: After controlling for disability level, the IFR group had significantly (p<0.05) worse scores on measures of mobility (i.e., MSWS-12, 6MW, and steps/day) compared to the NFR group. DFA identified MSWS-12 and 6MW scores as significant (p<0.05) predictors of fall risk group membership. Those two variables collectively explained 55 of variance in fall risk grouping. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that mobility should be the focus of rehabilitation programs in persons with MS, especially for those at IFR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-161
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • Disability
  • falls risk
  • neurological disorder
  • predictors
  • walking ability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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