On the validity and consistency of misjudgment of stepping ability in young and older adults

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Abstract

Disparities between perceived and actual physical abilities have been shown in older adults and may lead to balance loss or falls. However, it is unclear whether one's misjudgment is an inherent trait and thus consistent across different tasks, and whether this misjudgment is age-related. We measured the degree of misjudgment in young and older adults on four different stepping tasks; stepping over a raised bar, crossing a declining cord by stepping over it at a self-selected height, crossing a virtual river by stepping over it at a self-selected width, and making a recovery step after release from an inclined position. Before comparison, we carefully checked the validity of the different tasks to determine the misjudgment. No substantial differences were found in the amplitude of the misjudgment between the age groups, and the degree of misjudgment did not transfer across different stepping tasks. However, since only one task (i.e., stepping over a raised bar) met our criteria for validly assessing one's misjudgment, it remains unclear whether the degree of misjudgment is task-specific or an inherent trait. These findings stress the importance of testing the construct validity of the task, prior to the examination of the misjudgment of stepping ability.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0190088
Pages (from-to)e0190088
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume12
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2017

Keywords

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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