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Perceiving Falls within a Family Context: A Focused Ethnographic Approach

  • Christine Kilian (a1), Alan Salmoni (a1), Catherine Ward-Griffin (a2) and Marita Kloseck (a3)


The purpose of the present research was to examine the perceptions of risk regarding falling held by older adults and their adult children. Using a focused ethnographic approach, older adults and adult children were interviewed in depth. Thematic analysis was conducted to identify themes within groups and to compare the perspectives of older adults and adult children. Findings highlighted differences in perceptions and approaches to action between older adults and their adult children. There were three approaches to action adopted by these families, which focused around whose actions were dominant: parents' actions, shared actions, and children's secret actions. The results emphasize the value placed on independence by older adults and the impact of multiple family relations taking action to prevent falls. The present study points to the importance of including multiple family perspectives in research concerning injury prevention for older adults.

La présente recherche visait à examiner les perceptions de risque des aînés et de leurs enfants adultes en ce qui a trait aux chutes. Nous avons utilisé une méthode ethnographique ciblée et soumis à une entrevue approfondie aînés et enfants adultes. L'analyse thématique a été effectuée afin de déterminer les thèmes à l'intérieur des groupes et de comparer les points de vue des aînés et des enfants adultes. Les résultats ont fait ressortir les différences dans les perceptions et les méthodes d'interaction entre les aînés et leurs enfants adultes. Trois méthodes avaient été adoptées par ces familles, articulées autour des personnes dont les actions étaient dominantes: Actions des parents, Actions partagées, et Actions cachées des enfants. Les résultats soulignaient l'importance accordée par les aînés à l'indépendance et l'effet des relations familiales multiples prenant des mesures pour éviter les chutes. La présente étude souligne l'importance d'inclure des points de vue multiples de la famille lors de la recherche portant sur la prévention des blessures chez les aînés.


Corresponding author

Requests for offprints should be sent to:/Les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à: Alan Salmoni, Ph.D., School of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, School of Kinesiology, 3M Centre, London, ON N6A 3K7, (


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Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement
  • ISSN: 0714-9808
  • EISSN: 1710-1107
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