Social capital and the incidence of falls
Kwiatkowski, Melissa Maria
Master of Public Health
SubjectFalls (Accidents) in old age
Social capital (Sociology) Health aspects
Falls (Accidents) in old age Risk factors
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Study participants : Seniors from Guelph, Ontario, Canada.Falls are a serious concern among the elderly as they often have pre-existing comorbidities that increase their risk of injury as a result of a fall. Previous studies have found links between biological, behavioural and environmental risk factors and falls among the elderly. The current study focused on the effect of social capital on falls among Guelph seniors aged 75 and over whom were approached using non-probability convenience sampling. Each of the 25 participants was interviewed and data was collected on the following measures; basic demographics. Fear of Falling and social capital. Total falls were tracked over a period of three months. Men (9.34 ± 1.15) had higher balance confidence scores than women (7.86 ± 2.23). A significant positive correlation was found between social capital and education (r=.488, p=.013). A high degree of social capital was associated with an increase in balance confidence scores (P=.455; p=.046) adjusting for covariates (model R²=.548). Low level of housing, for example, rental and subsidized was associated with a higher incidence of falls (p=.444; p=.056), even when controlling for the following independent variables: age, gender, risk factors, education, social capital, income and balance confidence (model R²=.471). Falls are predictable and preventable. The current study highlights some areas for public health intervention: housing, education and social capital.