Self-Efficacy Mediates Walking Performance in Older Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis
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BACKGROUND: Self-efficacy is a determinant of walking performance in older adults with knee osteoarthritis. We examined whether self-efficacy mediated the effect of age, psychosocial, impairment, and mechanical factors on walking performance. METHODS: Fifty-four participants with knee osteoarthritis completed the Six Minute Walk test and Arthritis Self-Efficacy Scale. Independent variables reflected age, psychosocial (depressive symptoms), impairment (pain, stiffness), and mechanical (strength, obesity) factors. RESULTS: Self-efficacy fully mediated the effect of age and impairments on walking. The effects of strength were only partially mediated by self-efficacy. Depressive symptoms and obesity were not mediated by self-efficacy. CONCLUSIONS: These findings are consistent with Social Cognitive Theory, according to which age may alter outcome expectations, and impairments like pain and stiffness provide negative physiological feedback to influence performance. Mechanical factors like strength and obesity may better represent a person's capabilities and interact with other variables to influence physical performance in older adults with knee osteoarthritis.
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