Design and validation of a new instrument to assess fear of falling in Parkinson's disease

Cinthia Terroba-Chambi, Veronica Bruno, Patricio Millar-Vernetti, David Bruce, Simone Brockman, Marcelo Merello, Sergio Starkstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Fear of falling may be significantly associated with falls in Parkinson's disease (PD) and may have a negative impact on quality of life. Nevertheless, there are no valid and reliable tools to examine this condition in PD. The objective of this study was to design and determine the psychometric attributes of an instrument to assess fear of falling in PD. Methods: A prospective 1-year, 2-phase study was conducted to validate the Fear of Falling Scale, a self-assessed instrument for assessing fear of falling in PD. During phase 1, we designed a scale to measure the severity of fear of falling and determine its baseline psychometric characteristics, whereas phase 2 was a 1-year follow-up study to assess the frequency of falls and other clinical factors linked to fear of falling. Convergent and discriminant validity were assessed against the Fear of Falling Measure and the Starkstein Apathy Scale, respectively. Results: The Fear of Falling Scale showed high internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and strong convergent and discriminant validity. There was a significant association between fear of falling score and the presence of both generalized anxiety disorder and major depression, poor balance-related motor ability, increased nonmotor symptoms of PD, more severe impairments in activities of daily living, and increased motor fluctuations. Finally, generalized anxiety disorder was a significant predictor of number of falls during a 12-month follow-up period. Conclusions: The Fear of Falling Scale is a valid and reliable instrument to assess fear of falling in PD. Fear of falling in PD is associated with specific psychiatric and motor disorders and is significantly related to the performance of balance-related motor functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1496-1504
Number of pages9
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number10
Early online date23 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


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