Journal of Neurology

, Volume 257, Issue 7, pp 1124–1128

Falls and the falls efficacy scale in Parkinson’s disease

  • Alissa A. Thomas
  • Jennifer M. Rogers
  • Melissa M. Amick
  • Joseph H. Friedman
Original Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s00415-010-5475-x

Cite this article as:
Thomas, A.A., Rogers, J.M., Amick, M.M. et al. J Neurol (2010) 257: 1124. doi:10.1007/s00415-010-5475-x


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between fear of falling and fall frequency among patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD). One hundred-two participants with idiopathic PD were interviewed and examined. Participants reported the number of falls they had experienced in the preceding 3 months. They completed a mini-mental state exam (MMSE) and the falls efficacy scale (FES) questionnaire. Disease severity was determined by clinical examination using the Hoehn-Yahr staging system. Excluding two outliers who fell more than once each day, the subjects fell an average of 1.2 times in a 3 month period. There was a positive correlation between the number of falls, freezing of gait and Hoehn-Yahr score, and a negative correlation with the MMSE. In a post-hoc analysis the participants were divided into four groups based on fall frequency. The outliers had the lowest FES scores on average, similar to the scores seen in the rare fallers group. This study suggests that many factors are associated with fear of falling, including fall frequency, disease severity, and mental status. In the present study, the patients who fell the most often did not report the most fear. The lack of fear of falling but frequent falls in this small subgroup may suggest that special techniques to instill suitable caution to prevent falls are necessary, or may make training of these patients impossible.


Parkinson’s disease Falls Gait disorder Patient safety 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alissa A. Thomas
    • 1
  • Jennifer M. Rogers
    • 2
  • Melissa M. Amick
    • 3
  • Joseph H. Friedman
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Neurology, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical CenterWarren Alpert Medical School of Brown UniversityHanoverUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Butler HospitalCornell UniversityProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.VA Boston Healthcare SystemBostonUSA
  4. 4.NeuroHealthWarwickUSA
  5. 5.Division of Movement Disorders, Department of NeurologyWarren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Unit, Butler HospitalProvidenceUSA

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