Fear of falling is reported by up to 50% of older adults, and is linked to reduced quality of life and increased risk of falls. Current clinical interventions typically target fear of falling indirectly, through exercise and balance training. However, these strategies are relatively ineffective. Researchers have instead identified the importance of directly targeting fear of falling using psychological strategies. Despite this, there is currently no routine practice to directly address fear of falling within clinical settings. The advertised PhD seeks to address this gap.
Through collaboration with the Falls-Prevention Service within University College London Hospitals NHS Trust, the successful student will develop a novel psychological intervention which directly targets fear of falling in older adults. The intervention will be informed through interviews conducted with service providers (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, geriatricians and psychiatrists) and service users (older adults fearful of falling), as well as a consultation with an expert panel of UK clinicians. This intervention will then be piloted in a sample of older adults who are fearful of falling, and evaluated using a mixed-method approach (e.g., interviews, questionnaires, balance assessment, etc.