Psychosocial consequences of falling: the perspective of older Hong Kong Chinese who had experienced recent falls

J Adv Nurs. 2002 Feb;37(3):234-42. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2002.02094.x.


Aim of the study: The study's aim was to explore the psychosocial consequences of falling with a group of older Chinese who had recently fallen.

Background: Older people fall more frequently. Thus, the consequences of these falls and their influence on health outcomes need to be determined. One important outcome, namely the psychosocial consequence of falling, has not been extensively studied. As a result, this study explored the psychosocial consequences of falling with a group of older Chinese who had recently experienced a fall.

Research approach: An explorative qualitative approach with semi-structured interviews was used in this study.

Sample: Twenty informants, with recent fall experiences either in the community or hospital setting, were interviewed in two elder care wards in an acute care hospital.

Findings: Three major categories of psychosocial consequences of falling emerged from the interview data: powerlessness, fear and seeking care. Powerlessness was also exemplified in three subcategories: lack of control, self-comforting and lack of emotion. Informants perceived falls as unpredictable and not preventable, expressing fears that falling could result in dependence on others and becoming a care burden. The interview data also showed that there is a need by older Chinese to seek care and advice from relatives and health care professionals.

Conclusions: Findings from this study have provided insights into the psychosocial consequences of falling for older Chinese. These insights suggest nursing interventions should promote a sense of mastery in prevention of falls, facilitate supportive social interactions with relatives and give empathetic responses to those who have fallen.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Accidents / psychology*
  • Aged / psychology*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nursing Care
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care