Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Alan Salmoni


This study investigated older adult’s accuracy in fall-risk judgement and ascertained whether fall-risk appraisal was situation specific or general in nature. Convenience and snowball sampling were used to recruit 30 community-dwelling older adults aged 65 years and older. An embedded correlational mixed methods was utilized to investigate relative and absolute fall-risk judgement, balance confidence, and hazard identification. Using Pearson Product Moment correlations, multiple regressions, and qualitative analysis, the findings suggest older adults are not always accurate in appraising fall-risk. Judgements were specific and not general in nature, as only 9.30% of variance in risk appraisals and 12.96% of variance in balance confidence were general across four fall-related scenarios. Both absolute fall-risk and balance confidence judgements were not strongly predicted by physical ability, as measured by the Timed-Up-and-Go and Functional Reach tests. The number of hazards identified in each scenario was not strongly correlated to fall-risk appraisal or balance confidence, rather often focused on a single hazard in the scenario being assessed. The inaccuracies of appraisal of fall-risk suggest the importance of specific fall prevention training addressing the subjective appraisals made by older adults relevant to their circumstances.