Fear of Falling among the Community-Dwelling Elderly

Jonathan Howland, Elizabeth Walker Peterson, Dorothy Pordon, Sharon Bak, William C. Levin, Lise Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To assess the incidence of falls and the prevalence, intensity, and covariates of fear of falling among community-dwelling elderly, the authors surveyed a random sample of 196 residents (≥ 58 years of age) of housing developments for the elderly in Brookline and Plymouth, Massachusetts. Forty-three percent reported having fallen in recent years, 28% in the last year. Of those who had fallen within the year prior to the interview, 65% reported injury, 44% sought medical attention, and 15% required hospitalization as a consequence of their fall(s). Fear of falling ranked first when compared to other common fears (i.e., fear of robbery, financial fears). Self-rated health status and experience of previous falls were significantly associated with fear of falling. Further analysis suggests that fear of falling may affect social interaction, independent of risks for falling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-243
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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