Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Research Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Lisa L. Dutton


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Falls among community dwelling older adults are a significant public health problem. “A Matter of Balance” (MOB) is a multifactorial fall prevention program that aims to improve participants’ self-efficacy and increase physical activity in order to reduce falls. Although there is some evidence supporting MOB’s effectiveness, no published studies to date have examined the program from the perspective of participants or long-term program adherence. As such, the purpose of this study was to examine self-reported outcomes associated with the MOB program in order to explore participants’ perspectives and program adherence.

METHODS: This study utilized a mixed methods design that incorporated both survey and focus group interview data. Subjects included a convenience sample of 28 healthy community dwelling older adults who were enrolled in 4 separate MOB programs in the Twin Cities. Survey data were collected before the program and immediately after, 6-weeks, and 6-months post-program. Survey items addressed demographics, general health, falls management, exercise behavior, and number of falls. Focus groups were scheduled 3 to 5 months post-program and led by a principle investigator and student researchers. Semi-structured interview questions focused on participants’ experience of the MOB program, recommendations that were or were not implemented, and motivation for and barriers to change.

RESULTS: 70.4% of the participants completed all 4 surveys. Statistically significant improvements were identified for 2 survey items including: “I can find a way to reduce falls” and “I can protect myself if I fall”. No significant change over time in exercise level or number of falls was identified. Ten subjects participated in 4 focus groups. Qualitatively, 7 themes emerged from the focus group data. These were: awareness, motivators for attendance, class learning environment, current adherence, facilitators and barriers to adherence, and recommendations for future programming.

CONCLUSION: Overall, MOB’s effectiveness was evidenced by increased awareness, which may be related to improved falls management, self-efficacy and motivation. Post-program adherence to physical activity recommendations was facilitated when activities were incorporated into participants’ existing routines. Participants desired a follow-up program for continued social support and accountability but further research is needed to investigate the efficacy of this type of intervention.