Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

Advisor 1

Merrill Landers

First Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Second Committee Member

Robbin Hickman, Research Project Coordinator

Number of Pages



Background and Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine and identify key characteristics of and differences between people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) who exhibit moderate/high fear of falling avoidance behaviors and those that exhibit low fear of falling avoidance behaviors.

Subjects: A total of 24 subjects (5 females, 19 males; mean age= 72.2, SD=9.1) participated in this study.

Methods: A cross-sectional design was used to identify descriptive characteristics of subjects with PD associated with moderate/high levels of fear avoidance behavior (MHA) or low levels of fear avoidance (LA) as measured by the Fear of Falling Avoidance-Behavior Questionnaire (FFABQ). Then six profiles were used to test for differences between the MHA and LA groups: 1) demographic profile including age, socioeconomic status, and education; 2) a PD profile including the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS) and its subscales, the Hoehn and Yahr Scale, the Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39) and its subscales; 3) a fall profile, including number of falls during the last month, falls in the last year, and number of falls resulting in injury; 4) a balance profile, including the Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and the Activities Specific Balance Scale (ABC); 5) a strength and conditioning profile, including the 2 minute step test (2MST), 30 second Sit to Stand Test (30STS), Timed UP and Go Test (TUGT), and the activPAL physical activity monitor; 6) and a psychological profile including the Zung Anxiety Scale (ZAS), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Falls Efficacy Scale (FES), Catastrophizing About Falls Scale (CAFS), and Consequences of Falling Questionnaire (CoFQ).

Results: A significant difference was found between the LA and MHA groups in the following measures: Age, MDS-UPDRS, MDS-UPDRS ADL subscore, PDQ-39 mobility subscore, ABC, BBS, CAFS, and CoFQ.

Discussion/Conclusion: Results of this study will assist clinicians to identify possible risk factors for high avoidance behaviors in the PD population. Further research is suggested to determine if modifiable factors can be improved and subsequently decrease avoidance behaviors in this population.



Avoidance (Psychology); Falls (Accidents); Fear; Parkinson's disease


Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Physical Therapy | Rehabilitation and Therapy | Social and Behavioral Sciences

File Format


File Size

873 Kb

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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