[Assessment of balance in community dwelling older adults: reliability and validity of the German version of the Fullerton Advanced Balance Scale]

N Schott
Zeitschrift Für Gerontologie und Geriatrie 2011, 44 (6): 417-28
The purpose of this study was to validate the German translation of the originally English Fullerton Advanced Balance Scale (FAB-D). The 10-item test battery is a performance-based measure that addresses the multiple dimensions of balance. The German FAB-D using a forward-backward procedure was examined by a sample of n = 96 community dwelling older adults (71,6 ± 7,5 years of age) who had reported no history of a fall in the previous 6 months (non-fallers) and 66 older adults (age 75,3 ± 7,3 years of age) who reported falling one or more times (recurrent fallers). The following internationally accepted instruments were used for validation: The Berg-Balance-Scale (BBS), the Activities-Specific Balance Confidence (ABC-D) scale, the Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE), the Trail-Making-Test (TMT), and motor tests (balance, strength, mobility). Explorative and confirmative factor analysis showed the best fit for a one dimensional solution. Cronbach's alpha of the German version of the FAB-D was 0.988. Test-retest reliability for the total score was 0.965 and ranged from 0.86-0.88 for individual items. The scales correlate with convergent measures assessing postural control and falls-related confidence (BBS, r = 0.685; Timed-Up-and-Go-Test, r = -0.632; ABC-D, r = 0.561). Criterion validity of the FAB-D was established by statistically significant correlations between the total scale, and the subdimensions of the SF-36 (physical 0.52, mental 0.38), the PASE (0.29), the TMT A (-0.30) and B (-0.41), the Chair Rising Test (0.59) and the 10 m walk (normal velocity -0.49; fast velocity -0.56). Significant differences in the FAB-D scores were found in older adults with (30,3 ± 8,6) and without falls (36,1 ± 4,2). Older adults with a recent fall history scored lower on the FAB-D than older adults without a recent fall history. To conclude, the German version of the FAB-D has properties analogous to the original English version and is apparently useful in assessing the multiple dimensions of balance in community dwelling older adults.

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