Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

8-2010

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Science in Exercise and Sport Studies, Biophysical Studies

Department

Kinesiology

Major Advisor

Shawn Simonson, Ed.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if a difference exists in hip power asymmetry between community-dwelling older adult fallers and non-fallers. Hypothesis: fallers would be more asymmetrical than non-fallers. Participants: 21 non-fallers (10 females, 11 males) and 18 fallers (14 females, 4 males) over the age of 65 (76.5 ± 6.9yrs). Method: Isokinetic peak torque during flexion, extension, abduction, and adduction at four velocities was recorded as measures of leg power. Asymmetry equaled the percent of power difference between each leg. Data analysis: Differences in age, physical activity, height, weight, and BMI were assessed using independent t-tests. Two 2X13 ANOVA were run to determine whether group differences existed in hip power asymmetry and whether males and females differed in asymmetry for each test. The mean asymmetry for the 13 tests was also compared between groups using an independent t-test. Results: No group differences were seen in age, gender, physical activity level, weight, BMI, or height. Fallers were significantly more asymmetrical in hip power at 60º/sec flexion (F(1, 36) = 6.96, p < .015). No significant group differences were found in the remaining 12 asymmetry tests. Fallers were more asymmetrical in mean asymmetry throughout the 13 tests (F(1,37)=7.9, p < .05). Discussion: Global asymmetry may be more predictive of fall risk than hip power asymmetry in unidirectional movements. Additional research is needed to clarify the degree to which hip power asymmetry contributes to fall risk at both single and multi-planar levels.

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