Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Health Services


Cheryl L. Anderson


Many adults are afraid of falling. While aging can affect one'€™s physical and cognitive abilities related to fear of falling (FOF), research has revealed that FOF increases risk of falls and adversely affects independence levels among older adults. The purpose of this study was to explore older adults'€™ perceptions of FOF and risk of falling. Guided by the health belief model, the research questions focused on older adults'€™ perceptions of FOF, contributing factors of FOF, and how FOF may affect independence levels. How older adults perceive FOF, and how FOF may affect an individual older adult'€™s fall risk and independence levels are not well known. Following face-to-face interviews with adults age 60 and older, Colaizzi'€™s data analysis strategy demonstrated thematic older adult reports of constant anxiety, loss of confidence, and activities of daily living (ADLs) avoidance as perceptions of FOF; traumatic health incidence, loss of health, and decreased quality of life as contributing factors in FOF; and depending on others, loss of muscle strength, and loss of balance as to how FOF affected older adult independence levels. Recommendations for future research include exploring the influence of gender, race, education level, and socioeconomic status on FOF in older adults. This study may enhance social change through greater FOF awareness and added context among caregivers.