Quality of Life Research

, Volume 23, Issue 8, pp 2301–2308 | Cite as

Impact of vertigo and dizziness on self-perceived participation and autonomy in older adults: results from the KORA-Age study

  • Martin MuellerEmail author
  • Ralf Strobl
  • Klaus Jahn
  • Birgit Linkohr
  • Karl Heinz Ladwig
  • Andreas Mielck
  • Eva Grill



The impact of vertigo and dizziness on healthy ageing, and especially on participation, is not fully understood. The objective of this study was to investigate the association of vertigo and dizziness with self-perceived participation and autonomy in older non-institutionalised individuals, adjusted for the presence of other health conditions. Specifically, we wanted to investigate the different effects of vertigo and dizziness on specific components of participation, i.e. restrictions in indoor and outdoor autonomy, family role, social life and relationships, and work and education.


Data originate from the second wave of the German KORA-Age cohort study collected in 2012. Participation and autonomy was investigated with the Impact on Participation and Autonomy Questionnaire. We used robust regression to analyse the association of vertigo and dizziness with self-perceived participation and autonomy adjusted for covariates.


A total of 822 participants (49.6 % female) had a mean age of 78.1 years (SD 6.39). Participation and autonomy were significantly lower in participants with vertigo and dizziness across all domains. Adjusted for age, sex, and chronic conditions, vertigo and dizziness were significantly associated with participation restrictions in all domains except social life and relationships.


The results of our study indicate that vertigo and dizziness contribute to restrictions in participation and autonomy in individuals of older age. Recognising vertigo and dizziness as independent contributors to loss of autonomy and decreased chances for independent living may create new options for patient care and population health, such as the designing of complex interventions to maintain participation and autonomy.


Aged Aged, 80 and over Participation Autonomy Chronic conditions Vertigo Dizziness 



The KORA research platform (KORA, Cooperative Research in the Region of Augsburg) was initiated and financed by the Helmholtz Zentrum München—German Research Center for Environmental Health, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and by the state of Bavaria. The KORA-Age project was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF FKZ 01ET0713, 01ET1003AIFB, 01ET1003A, and 01ET1003C). This project was also supported by funds from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the Grant Code 01 EO 0901. The authors bear full responsibility for the content of this publication. We thank the team at the KORA study centre in Augsburg who carried out the field work for this study and the team at the Helmholtz Zentrum München for maintaining these complex data.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Mueller
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ralf Strobl
    • 1
    • 2
  • Klaus Jahn
    • 2
    • 3
  • Birgit Linkohr
    • 4
  • Karl Heinz Ladwig
    • 4
  • Andreas Mielck
    • 5
  • Eva Grill
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Medical Information Processing, Biometrics and EpidemiologyLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  2. 2.German Center for Vertigo and Balance DisordersLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Epidemiology IIHelmholtz Zentrum MünchenNeuherbergGermany
  5. 5.Institute of Health Economics and Health Care ManagementHelmholtz Zentrum MünchenNeuherbergGermany

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