Measuring Fear of Falling in Thai Community-dwelling Older Adults with a New Measure

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Sutthida Phongphanngam
Helen W Lach
Sangduen Phomkaewngam
Sutthilak Chantawang


          Fear of falling (FOF) is a major problem for community-dwelling older adults, which can lead to activity restrictions and contribute to disability. The FOF Questionnaire (FFQ) was developed for the assessment of FOF based on Lazarus and Izzards’s conceptual definitions of fear and appraisals of harm. Later, the shorter FFQ was developed and has been translated into the Thai language. The purposes of this study were to explore the psychometric properties of the Thai Short-FFQ and examine FOF in Thai older adults living in a community. A total of 330 Thai community-dwelling older adults completed the survey (64.8% female, aged 69.92±7.11 years). A high number of Thai older adults reported FOF (93.6%) with a high mean FOF rating of 7.16 (SD=2.65) on a 1-10 scale. The reliability of the Thai Short-FFQ was examined as well as the construct, concurrent, convergent, and divergent validity.  Principle component factor analysis confirmed that the short scale had one component, “harm outcomes,” explained 68.72% of the variance. The mean score was 20.83 (SD=2.9; range11-24), with a Cronbach’s alpha of .91. This Thai Short-FFQ had a significant moderate correlation with the FOF rating 1-10 (r=.3, p<.001) and the Falls Efficacy Scale-International (r=.46,p<.001), whereas it had a low correlation with the Thai Geriatric Anxiety Scale (r=.25, p<.001). The relationship between the Thai Short-FFQ and the Center for Epidemiology Studies Depression (CESD) scale was not statistically significant (r=-.05). Multiple regression analyses indicated that visual impairment, concern about falls, and anxiety were significantly associated with the Thai Short-FFQ (R2=.23, Adjusted R2=.23, F (3, 326) = 33.05, p< .001). The findings suggest that the Thai Short-FFQ has excellent psychometric properties and is valid to use in further research aimed at assessing the FOF in terms of appraisals of harm falls this might cause to Thai community-dwelling older adults.


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