Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Translated “A Matter of Balance” Fall Prevention Program Materials for Non-English-Speaking Participants

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A Matter of Balance (MOB) is an evidence-based fall prevention program shown to reduce fear of falling (FOF) in English-speaking participants. The effectiveness of translated (Chinese and Spanish) MOB materials in reducing FOF is unknown. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether MOB was associated with reduced FOF in Chinese- and Spanish-speaking participants and included an English-speaking comparison group. Participants were recruited from MOB classes in Massachusetts and Illinois. Investigators used the Falls Efficacy Scale–International (FES-I) and a demographic questionnaire to survey the participants at the first class (baseline), the last class, and 6 months after the MOB course. Of the 90 participants who enrolled, 77 (85.6%) completed the course (Chinese: n = 37; Spanish: n = 19; and English: n = 21) and 54 (60%) completed the 6-month survey (Chinese: n = 33; English: n = 21). Chinese FES-I scores significantly increased (FOF worsened) at the end of the course (+7.1, p = .009), and 6-month survey scores were also significantly above the baseline score (+6.7, p = .0088). FES-I scores decreased (FOF declined) in both the Spanish (−6.6, p = .016) and English groups (−2.7, p = .14) at the last class, and English 6-month FES-I scores were slightly lower than baseline scores (−0.4, p = .8). Participation in the MOB program did not reduce FOF in the Chinese population, but MOB did show promise in reducing FOF in both the Spanish and English groups. Future studies are warranted to explore the cultural, social, and education-related factors that may influence effectiveness of the MOB program.

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