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Falls self-efficacy and falls incidence in community-dwelling older people: the mediating role of coping

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 November 2017

Christine C. Loft
Psicon, Kent, UK
Fergal W. Jones
Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, UK
Ian I. Kneebone
Discipline of Clinical Psychology, Graduate School of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia



A cognitive behavioral model predicts that coping responses mediate the relationship between falls related psychological concerns and falls incidence, in community-dwelling older people. If empirical support could be found for this pathway then interventions could be developed to reduce falls risk by targeting coping strategies. Therefore, this study aimed to begin the process of testing whether coping responses mediate the association between falls self-efficacy (a principal element of falls related psychological concerns) and falls incidence, in community-dwelling older people.


In a cross-sectional design, 160 community-dwelling older people (31 male, 129 female; mean age 83.47 years) completed the Falls Efficacy Scale–International, the Revised-Ways of Coping Questionnaire, the Turning to Religion subscale of the COPE, and a falls questionnaire. Data were analyzed via mediation analysis using a bootstrapping approach.


Lower falls self-efficacy was associated with higher falls incidence, and more self-controlling coping was found to be a partial mediator of this association, with a confidence interval for the indirect effect of (0.003, 0.021) and an effect size of κ2 = 0.035. The association was not mediated by the other measured coping responses; namely, turning to religion, distancing, seeking social support, accepting responsibility, escape-avoidance, planful problem-solving, and positive reappraisal.


Self-controlling coping may mediate the association between falls self-efficacy and falling. If longitudinal studies confirm this finding then coping could be targeted in interventions to reduce falls.

Research Article
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2017 

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