Purpose: The purpose of this study is to cross-sectionally and longitudinally identify risk factors for falls, fear of falling, and falls efficacy in late-middle-aged African Americans. Design and Methods: We performed in-home assessments on a probability sample of 998 African Americans and conducted two annual follow-up interviews. Multiple logistic regression modeled the associations with falls (any fall or injurious fall) during 2 years prior to the baseline interview, and baseline fear of falling and falls efficacy with 2-year prospective risks for falling and fear of falling. Results: The most consistent association for all outcomes was depressive symptoms. Age was associated with increased risk of prior and prospective falls. Lower-body functional limitations were associated with prior falls, baseline fear of falling, and low falls efficacy, whereas low ability with one-leg stands prospectively predicted fear of falling. The greatest prospective risk for incident falls was having had a prior fall (odds ratio = 2.51), and the greatest prospective risk for fear of falling was having been afraid of falling at baseline (odds ratio = 8.14). Implications: Falls, fear of falling, and low falls efficacy are important issues for late-middle-aged as well as older persons. Interventions should focus on younger adults and attend especially to lower-body function and depressive symptoms as well as building self-efficacy for safe exercise, dealing with falls risks, and managing falls themselves.
- Functional status
- Quality of life