A Matter of Balance
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A Matter of Balance

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Developed by: Boston University
Program Administrator: Patti League
Year Program First Implemented: 2004


A Matter of Balance emphasizes practical strategies to reduce fear of falling and increase activity levels. Participants learn to view falls and fear of falling as controllable, set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors, and exercise to increase strength and balance. This program has been adapted from the original intervention to be more suitable for community-dwelling older adults by allowing small group sessions to be led by a trained facilitator. For additional information on training opportunities and cost go to http://www.mmc.org/mh_body.cfm?id=432.

Supporting Evidence:

A randomized, single-blind controlled trial was conducted to test the efficacy of a community-based group intervention to reduce fear of falling and associated restrictions in activity levels among older adults. A sample of 434 persons age 60+ years, who reported fear of falling and associated activity restriction, was recruited front 40 senior housing sites in the Boston metropolitan area. Data were collected at baseline, and at six-week, six-month, and 12-month follow-ups. Compared with contact control subjects, intervention subjects reported increased levels of intended activity (p < .05) and greater mobility control (p < .05) immediately after the intervention. Effects at 12 months included improved social function (p < .05) and mobility range (p < .05).

A subsequent study examined whether A Matter of Balance could be translated into a community-based volunteer lay leader model and achieves outcomes comparable to those found in the RCT. A repeated measures single group design was employed. Participants experienced significant increases in Falls Efficacy, Falls Management, and Falls Control at six weeks, six months, and 12 months, thus achieving comparable outcomes with those of participants in the RCT.


Tennstedt S, Howland J, Lachman M, Peterson E, Kasten L, Jette A. A Randomized, Controlled Trial of a Group Intervention to Reduce Fear of Falling and Associated Activity Restriction in Older Adults. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. (1998) 53B (6):P384-P392. [Online]: http://psychsocgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/53B/6/P384.short.

Healy, T. C., Peng, C., Haynes, P., McMahon, E., Botler, J. & Gross, L. The Feasibility and Effectiveness of Translating A Matter of Balance into a Volunteer Lay Leader Model. Journal of Applied Gerontology. (2008) 27 (1): 34-51. [Online]: http://www.mmc.org/workfiles/mh_PFHA/JAGarticle.pdf.


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