Title

Integrated exposure therapy and exercise reduces fear of falling and avoidance in older adults: A randomized pilot study.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-30-2019

Publication Title

American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

ISSN

1545-7214

Medical Subject Headings

Anxiety, Accidental Falls, Exercise Therapy, Physical Therapy Modalities, Exposure Therapy, Avoidance Behavior

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the safety and acceptability of a novel 8-week intervention integrating exercise, exposure therapy, cognitive restructuring, and a home safety evaluation, conducted by a physical therapist, in reducing fear of falling and activity avoidance. To collect preliminary evidence of efficacy.

DESIGN: Randomized pilot study comparing the intervention to time- and attention-equivalent fall prevention education.

SETTING: Participants' homes.

PARTICIPANTS: 42 older adults with disproportionate fear of falling (high fear, low to moderate objective fall risk).

MEASUREMENTS: Falls Efficacy Scale-International, modified Activity Card Sort, satisfaction, falls.

RESULTS: Relative to education, the intervention reduced fear of falling (d = 1.23) and activity avoidance (d = 1.02) at 8 weeks, but effects eroded over a 6-month follow-up period. The intervention did not increase falls, and participants rated the exercise, exposure therapy, and non-specific elements as most helpful.

CONCLUSIONS: An integration of exercise and exposure therapy may help older adults with disproportionate fear of falling, but modifications to the intervention or its duration may be needed to maintain participants' gains.

Volume

26

Issue

8

First Page

849

Last Page

859

PubMed ID

29754811

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