A method to investigate discrepancies between perceived and actual balance in older women
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Despite the established relationship between low balance confidence and poorer balance and gait performance, discrepancies may occur between an individual's perceived and actual abilities. This study determined if trunk sway measures could assist in identifying potential discrepancies between perceived and actual balance. Older women completed the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale and performed a series of 16 stance, gait and tandem gait tasks. Duration (or completed steps for tandem gait tasks) and trunk pitch and roll angle and angular velocity were calculated. Low (mean ABC score≤70%, n=33) and high (mean ABC score≥90%, n=99) balance confidence groups were identified from a pool of 204 participants. The low balance confidence group had greater stance trunk pitch and roll sway, shorter one leg stance durations, reduced gait trunk roll sway, longer gait durations, less tandem gait trunk roll sway and completed fewer tandem gait steps compared to the high balance confidence group. Stepwise linear discriminant analysis identified four variables that were used to achieve a classification accuracy of 75.8% for low and 90.9% for high balance confidence groups. This study reinforces the influence of low balance confidence on stance and gait control and provides direction for the identification and treatment of individuals with discrepancies between perceived and actual balance.
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