Details of Publication 157 for Project W052:

Mackenzie L, Byles J & Mishra G. An occupational focus on falls and serious injury among older women in Australia. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 2004; 51(3): 144-154

Falls prevention and recovery programs have been developed on a predominantly medical model of understanding falls risk. In this cross-sectional study, data from 12,900 community-dwelling women participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health were analysed using multiple stepwise regression to identify if factors related to occupational functioning were independently associated with participants who self-reported serious falls (n = 655) in the previous year. Four variables were significantly associated with reports of serious falls: poor physical health summary scores (SF-36); higher scores on a life events scale; higher scores on a ‘feeling dejected’ subscale; and taking medications for ‘nerves’. These variables are directly connected with occupational functioning, and were significantly associated with serious falls despite medical falls risk being included in the regression model. Results indicate a need to address the occupational background of participants in the design and delivery of both falls injury prevention and falls recovery programs, especially for community-dwelling women.