Validity of simple gait related dual task tests in predicting falls in community dwelling older adults

Jennifer Muhaidat*, Andrew Kerr, Jonathan J. Evans, Mark Pilling, Dawn A. Skelton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the predictive validity of simple gait-related dual-task (DT) tests in predicting falls in community-dwelling older adults. Design: A validation cohort study with 6 months' follow-up. Setting: General community. Participants: Independently ambulant community-dwelling adults (N=66) aged ≥65 years, with normal cognitive function. Sixty-two completed the follow-up. No participants required frames for walking. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Occurrence of falls in the follow-up period and performance on primary and secondary tasks of 8 DT tests and 1 triple-task (TT) test. Results: A random forest classification analysis identified the top 5 predictors of a fall as (1) absolute difference in time between the Timed Up & Go (TUG) as a single task (ST) and while carrying a cup; (2) time required to complete the walking task in the TT test; (3 and 4) walking and avoiding a moving obstacle as an ST and while carrying a cup; and (5) performing the TUG while carrying a cup. Separate bivariate logistic regression analyses showed that performance on these tasks was significantly associated with falling (P<.01). Despite the random forest analysis being a more robust approach than multivariate logistic regression, it was not clinically useful for predicting falls. Conclusions: This study identified the most important outcome measures in predicting falls using simple DT tests. The results showed that measures of change in performance were not useful in a multivariate model when compared with an "allocated all to falls" rule.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Early online date23 Sept 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • accidental falls
  • aged
  • cognition
  • gait
  • rehabilitation


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