Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 450–456

Depressive symptoms and fear of falling in previously community-dwelling older persons recovering from proximal femoral fracture


    • Geriatric Rehabilitation HospitalRobert-Bosch Krankenhaus
  • G. A. Rixt Zijlstra
    • Department of Health Care and Nursing Science, CAPHRI-School for Public Health and Primary CareMaastricht University
  • Ulrich Lindemann
    • Geriatric Rehabilitation HospitalRobert-Bosch Krankenhaus
  • Simone Nicolai
    • Geriatric Rehabilitation HospitalRobert-Bosch Krankenhaus
    • Department of Process Compliance and ImprovementFraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering
  • Ruth Hoffrichter
    • Geriatric Rehabilitation HospitalRobert-Bosch Krankenhaus
  • Michael Jamour
    • Geriatric Rehabilitation ClinicKrankenhaus GmbH Alb-Donau Kreis
  • Clemens Becker
    • Geriatric Rehabilitation HospitalRobert-Bosch Krankenhaus
  • Klaus Pfeiffer
    • Geriatric Rehabilitation HospitalRobert-Bosch Krankenhaus
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF03325241

Cite this article as:
Benzinger, P., Zijlstra, G.A.R., Lindemann, U. et al. Aging Clin Exp Res (2011) 23: 450. doi:10.1007/BF03325241


Background and aims: Depression and fear of falling are common problems following proximal femoral fracture. The role of fear of falling in depressive symptoms after such a fracture has not yet been investigated. The aim of this study was to establish possible changes during recovery in fear of falling and depressive symptoms following rehabilitation in this population and to explore their association. Methods: Observational study with pre-post design at a single geriatric rehabilitation hospital in Germany. Data were collected during in-hospital rehabilitation and four months later at participants’ home. The data of 51 participants living in the community at the time of fracture could be analysed. Main measures: Fear of falling, depressive symptoms, cognition, pain, ADL functioning, and physical performance. Results: Although physical and ADL performance improved between admission to rehabilitation and follow-up four months later, the prevalence of depressive symptoms increased, and levels of fear of falling remained at the same level. There was a significant correlation between fear of falling and depressive symptoms at follow-up, but the two were not significantly correlated at baseline. Fear of falling and depressive symptoms were not significantly associated in a path analysis model. Conclusions: Fear of falling and depressive symptoms are highly prevalent after proximal femoral fracture. Yet there seems to be no simple association between either psychological parameter in older persons recovering from fall-related fractures. Further research is warranted, in order to develop interventions targeting these psychological outcomes.

Key words

Depressionfear of fallingfemoral fracturehip fracturerehabilitation
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© Springer Internal Publishing Switzerland 2011