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Association with and predictive capacity of self-perceived risk of falling in recurrent falls in older people: a prospective study



Given the impact of recurrent falls in older people, risk evaluation for falling is an important part of geriatric assessment. Available clinical tools usually do not include patients’ self-perceived risk of falling. The objective of this study was to evaluate association with and predictive capacity of self-perceived risk of falling in recurrent falls.


Prospective cohort study. Patients attending a geriatric outpatients’ clinic were recruited (Pfeiffer score <5). A baseline assessment and follow-up over 14 months was scheduled for each patient. Self-perceived risk of falling was assessed through four questions. Association with falls was evaluated through relative risk, survival curves (Kaplan–Meier), and Cox regression (recurrent falls as outcome variables). Predictive capacity was evaluated through sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values.


52 participants answered all 4 questions, and 15 participants (27.2 %) presented recurrent falls. Question 1 (Do you think you may fall in the next few months?) was associated with the occurrence of recurrent falls according to relative risk [3.88 (CI95 %:1.48–10.09)] and survival curves (log Rank, p 0.004). Such relationship is maintained over time. Cox-regression also showed significant difference in relation to the answer for question 1 and recurrent falls [hazard ratio 4.044 (CI: 1.410–11.597); p 0.009]. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values (question 1) were 53.3 % (CI95 %:28.1–78.6), 84.2 % (CI95 %:72.6–95.8), 57.1 % (CI95 %:31.2–83.1), and 82.1 % (CI95 %:70.0–94.1), respectively.


Patients’ self-perceived risk of falling is related to recurrent falls amongst people with a high risk of falling and this parameter might be useful in falling risk evaluation.

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We would like to thank Dr. Antonio Yuste Marco for the hard work done in research management and administration. We should like to thank Natalia Gonzalo and Esther Valldosera, for her invaluable work in data collection and quality control during field work.

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All authors report no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work.

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Correspondence to César Gálvez-Barrón.

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Gálvez-Barrón, C., Sanguino, M.J., Narvaiza, L. et al. Association with and predictive capacity of self-perceived risk of falling in recurrent falls in older people: a prospective study. Aging Clin Exp Res 25, 591–596 (2013).

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  • Accidental falls
  • Older people
  • Risk factors
  • Gait