A systematic review of interventions conducted in clinical or community settings to improve dual-task postural control in older adults

Clin Interv Aging. 2014 Mar 25;9:477-92. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S54978. eCollection 2014.


Background: Injury due to falls is a major problem among older adults. Decrements in dual-task postural control performance (simultaneously performing two tasks, at least one of which requires postural control) have been associated with an increased risk of falling. Evidence-based interventions that can be used in clinical or community settings to improve dual-task postural control may help to reduce this risk.

Purpose: THE AIMS OF THIS SYSTEMATIC REVIEW ARE: 1) to identify clinical or community-based interventions that improved dual-task postural control among older adults; and 2) to identify the key elements of those interventions.

Data sources: Studies were obtained from a search conducted through October 2013 of the following electronic databases: PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Web of Science.

Study selection: Randomized and nonrandomized controlled studies examining the effects of interventions aimed at improving dual-task postural control among community-dwelling older adults were selected.

Data extraction: All studies were evaluated based on methodological quality. Intervention characteristics including study purpose, study design, and sample size were identified, and effects of dual-task interventions on various postural control and cognitive outcomes were noted.

Data synthesis: Twenty-two studies fulfilled the selection criteria and were summarized in this review to identify characteristics of successful interventions.

Limitations: The ability to synthesize data was limited by the heterogeneity in participant characteristics, study designs, and outcome measures.

Conclusion: Dual-task postural control can be modified by specific training. There was little evidence that single-task training transferred to dual-task postural control performance. Further investigation of dual-task training using standardized outcome measurements is needed.

Keywords: balance; fall prevention; motor learning; physical therapy; walking.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Community Health Services
  • Female
  • Health Services for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance*