Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Health Related Sciences

First Advisor

Elizabeth Ayn Welleford


Falling among older adults is a leading cause of concern due to the known impacts including physical injury, loss of independence, increased health care costs, and mortality. In efforts to decrease the numbers of falls experienced by older adults, healthcare providers assess individuals’ fall risks and provide corresponding fall prevention recommendations. The effectiveness however, of these recommendations, is only as strong as the level of adherence to those recommendations; which has proven low in recent research. Using the theoretical foundation of the Health Belief Model, this study quantified adherence to environmental fall prevention recommendations. Twenty-two community-dwelling older adults participated in this randomized control group study that took place across three home visits, scheduled approximately 30 days apart. Participants were interviewed regarding their recent falls and perceived susceptibility to future falls; then a home evaluation was conducted. Treatment group participants were provided personalized education explaining how and why environmental fall prevention recommendations were important to decrease their risk of falls while control group participants were provided general recommendations. A two-sample t-test for independent groups determined a statistically significant relationship: participants who received personalized education intervention were more likely to follow recommendations than those who received general education intervention. Multiple regressions were conducted to review relationships between an individual’s recent falls, and their perceived susceptibility to future falls, with their extent of adherence with fall prevention recommendations. No statistically significant relationship was found. This study suggests that providing personalized education for community-dwelling older adults regarding environmental fall prevention recommendations increases their extent of adherence with such recommendations.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2014