The Mediating Effects of Fear of Falling on the Relationship between Muscle Strength and Depression of Community-Dwelling Older Women

Monday, 9 November 2015

Young Mi Lim, RN, PhD
Department of Nursing, Wonju College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Wonju, South Korea

Although there are many studies on the relationship between physical function and depression of older adults, few studies have identified whether muscle strength affects depression through fear of falling (whether a mediation exists), especially in older women. The purpose of the study was to explore the mediating effect of fear of falling on the relationship between muscle strength and depression among community-dwelling older women. Total sample was 163 Korean older women aged 60 and over in one small city. Instruments were Activities-specific Balance Confidence scale, Center of Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CESD), and Hand Grip Strength test. Data were analyzed using multiple regressions proposed by Baron and Kenny (1986). First, muscle strength had a significant direct effect on depression (β= -.314, p< .05). For the next step, muscle strength was correlated with fear of falling (β=-.467, p< .01). In the third step, fear of falling completely mediated the relationship between muscle strength and depression (β=-.009, p> .01). The results indicate that the indirect effect of the muscle strength on the depression through fear of falling was significant. The findings have implications that these relationships can guide health professionals to develop physical exercise intervention strategies to increase self-efficacy and personal control in order to prevent ultimately depression among older women. Health professionals should play a leading role in assisting older women who undergo low physical function to ensure they have emotional strength, as this can dramatically impact their depression.