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Psychosocial issues in Engaging Older People with Physical Activity Interventions for the Prevention of Falls*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2011

Samuel R. Nyman*
Bournemouth University
Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to / La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à: Samuel R. Nyman, Ph.D. School of Design, Engineering & Computing Bournemouth University Poole House, Talbot Campus Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK (


This article presents an overview of the psychosocial factors that influence older people’s participation in physical activity interventions to prevent falls. The importance of psychosocial factors is stressed inasmuch as interventions will be rendered useless if they do not successfully gain the active participation of older people. The theory of planned behavior is used as a framework for the review on how knowledge (a prerequisite), attitudes, subjective norms (the social context), and perceived behavioral control (confidence) promote or inhibit the intention to carry out activities to prevent falls. The review is supplemented with evidence for self-identity to influence intention, and the article concludes with a discussion of the recommendations made by the Prevention of Falls Network Europe for engaging older people in falls prevention.


Dans cet article on présente une vue d’ensemble des facteurs psychosociaux ayant une influence sur la participation des personnes âgées aux interventions concernant l’activité physique et visant la prévention des chutes. On souligne l’importance des facteurs psychosociaux puisque les interventions seront rendues inutiles si elles ne réussissent pas à attirer la participation active des personnes âgées. La théorie du comportement planifié sert de cadre pour un examen de la façon dont les connaissances (un préalable), les attitudes, les normes subjectives (le contexte social) et la perception du contrôle comportemental (la confiance) encouragent ou entravent l’intention d’entre-prendre des activités pour la prévention des chutes. Cette étude est accompagnée de documents qui indiquent la manière dont la perception de soi influence l’intention. On termine par une discussion des recommendations recommendations du réseau européen Prevention of Falls Network Europe concernant l’implication des personnes âgées dans la prévention des chutes.

Special Section: Falls Prevention / Section spéciale: Prévention des chutes
Copyright © Canadian Association on Gerontology 2011

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The author thanks Veronica Heath for providing a French translation of the abstract, and Maggie Donovan-Hall and Christina Victor for their comments on an earlier draft of this article.


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