Fear of falling is associated with recurrent falls in people with multiple sclerosis

Rajarshi Mazumder, William E. Lambert, Thuan Nguyen, Dennis N. Bourdette, Michelle H. Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background: People with multiple sclerosis (MS) fall frequently, and there are few clinically valid tools to measure the risk factors for falls. We assessed the unidimensionality of the 7-item Falls Efficacy Scale-International (FES-I), a measure of fear of falling, and determined whether the 7-item FES-I is associated with recurrent falls in people with MS. Methods: Falls were counted prospectively for 6 months using fall calendars in 58 people with MS (age, 18-50 years; Expanded Disability Status Scale score, 0-6). The FES-I was administered at baseline, and its unidimensionality was assessed by confirmatory factor analysis. The relationship between FES-I score and future falls, after adjusting for recurrent falls in the past year, was assessed by logistic regression. Results: Fifty-four participants who completed all assessments were included in the analysis. Goodness-of-fit indices confirmed a single-factor solution for the 7-item FES-I (discrepancy χ2, P = .101; Tucker-Lewis index, 0.953; comparative fit index, 0.969; root mean square error of approximation, 0.098). There was a significant association between fear of falling and falls in the following 3 months, independent of recurrent falls in the past year (odds ratio = 1.22, 95% confidence interval, 1.04-1.43, P = .016). Conclusions: The 7-item FES-I demonstrates good construct validity, allowing the total score to be used as a measure of fear of falling in people with MS. Fear of falling, as measured by the 7-item FES-I, is associated with future recurrent falls independent of past recurrent falls in people with MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-170
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of MS Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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