Falls and associated injuries are the most serious medical problem affecting the functional independence among both White non-Hispanics and Latino older adults. Studies have shown the effectiveness of Tai Chi exercise in reducing falls but have primarily focused on White non-Hispanic older adults. There is limited research that examines the effectiveness of this exercise on balance among different racial/ethnic minority older adults. This study focused on the interrelationship between functional status (balance performance) and psychosocial status (depression) before and after a 12-week Tai Chi program among Latinos in a Midwestern metropolitan city. Results indicated that at baseline, prior to the start of the Tai Chi program, participants who were more depressed had poorer functional status. Participants who had higher depression at baseline, experienced greater improvement in functional status, following the 12-week Tai Chi exercise program, compared with those who had lower levels of depression.
Keywords: Aging; Balance; Depression; Falls; Tai Chi.