Fear of falling is independently associated with recurrent falls in patients with Parkinson's disease: a 1-year prospective study

J Neurol. 2009 Oct;256(10):1689-95. doi: 10.1007/s00415-009-5184-5. Epub 2009 May 28.


The present study aimed to examine whether fear of falling (FoF) could independently predict recurrent falls in people with Parkinson's disease (PD). Seventy patients with PD completed the study. Thirty-two patients had fallen at least once in the previous 12 months. Most of patients with PD had moderate disease severity (Hoehn and Yahr stage III). FoF was assessed by the activities-specific balance confidence (ABC) scale. PD specific motor and balance impairment was determined by Unified PD rating scale (UPDRS). Functional mobility was measured by timed-up-and-go (TUG) test. All patients were followed for 12 months by phone interview to register monthly fall incidence. Results of stepwise discriminant analysis showed that after adjusting for the fall history (F = 32.57, P < 0.001) and UPDRS motor score (F = 25.23, P < 0.001), ABC score (F = 18.84, P < 0.001) remained as a significant predictor of recurrent falls. We further established that a cut-off ABC score of 69 (i.e. 0-100, 0 indicates no confidence and 100 indicates full confidence) demonstrated the best sensitivity (93%) in predicting future falls in PD patients. The results indicate that those with an ABC score <69 at baseline had significantly higher risk of sustaining recurrent falls in the next 12 months. Findings of the present study highlight the importance of considering FoF during fall risk assessment in patients with PD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Fear*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease*
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Recurrence
  • Severity of Illness Index