Self-efficacy as a mediator between fear of falling and functional ability in the elderly

Fuzhong Li, Edward McAuley, K. John Fisher, Peter Harmer, Nigel Chaumeton, Nicole L. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This study examined falls self-efficacy and fear of falling to determine whether self-efficacy acts as a mediator between fear of falling and functional ability. Methods: Using the Survey of Activities and Fear of Falling in the Elderly as a fear-of-falling measure and the Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale for falls self-efficacy, structural relationships among fear of falling, self-efficacy, functional balance, and physical functioning outcomes were tested with older adults (N = 256, M age = 77.5). Results: Lower levels of fear of falling were significantly related to higher levels of falls self-efficacy, which was in turn associated with better functional outcomes. Moreover, falls self-efficacy mediated the effects of fear of falling on functional outcomes. Discussion: Results substantiate the hypothesized mediational role of falls self-efficacy in fear of falling and underscore the need to consider ways of enhancing falls self-efficacy in interventions aimed at reducing falls and fear of falling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)452-466
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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