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JFSF Vol 6, No 3, September 2021, p.131-138

doi: 10.22540/JFSF-06-131


Review Article

Falls efficacy: Extending the understanding of self-efficacy in older adults towards managing falls

Shawn Leng-Hsien Soh1,2, Chee-Wee Tan3, Janet I. Thomas2, Gideon Tan4, Tianma Xu1, Yoke Leng Ng1,5, Judith Lane2

  1. Health and Social Sciences Cluster, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore
  2. Dietetics, Nutrition & Biological Sciences, Physiotherapy, Podiatry & Radiography Division, Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, United Kingdom
  3. Department of Physiotherapy and Paramedicine, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, United Kingdom
  4. Department of Sport and Exercise Science, School of Sports, Health and Leisure, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore
  5. Curtin School of Allied Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Keywords: Falls efficacy, Older Adults, Person-centred care, Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation


Falls efficacy is a widely studied construct. The understanding of falls efficacy has evolved over time. Falls efficacy was initially perceived to be suitably used as a measure of fear of falling. However, further research suggested that falls efficacy and fear of falling are distinct constructs, and therefore, would be inappropriate to be used as a proxy. Instead, some researchers posited that falls efficacy is synonymous with balance confidence. Falls efficacy has been conventionally understood as the perceived ability of individuals to perform activities without losing balance or falling. A recently conducted systematic review by the authors on existing falls efficacy related measures had revealed a fresh perspective of recognising falls efficacy as a perceived ability to manage a threat of a fall. Falls efficacy, with a broadened interpreted construct, relates to the individual’s perceived self-efficacy of performing necessary actions needed in different scenarios, including pre-fall, near-fall, fall-landing and completed fall. The conventional interpretation of falls efficacy needs a rethinking of perspective. An extended understanding of falls efficacy would provide an integral approach towards improving the agency of individual to deal with falls and would enhance person-centred care.