A Protection Motivation Theory Approach to Understanding How Fear of Falling Affects Physical Activity Determinants in Older Adults

C.E. Preissner*, N. Kaushal, K. Charles, B. Knauper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives This study applied an extended Protection Motivation Theory to investigate the relative importance of fear of falling (FoF) among motivational and intentional determinants of physical activity (PA) behavior. Methods Older U.S. adults (N = 667, 65+) were surveyed using online research panels and completed measures of self-efficacy and response efficacy (coping appraisal), perceived vulnerability and perceived severity (threat appraisal), FoF, autonomous motivation, intention, physical health, and past PA level. Results Our structural equation model showed that past PA level and health predicted intention via cognitive constructs. PA and health predicted FoF and motivation via threat and coping appraisal. FoF did not directly predict intention. Discussion Results from this sample provide support for the predictive effects of threat appraisal on fear. However, findings suggest that FoF may not be of great importance for the formation of PA intention compared with an established habit of being physically active and a subsequently fostered coping appraisal and motivation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-39
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology Series B-Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Early online date2 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Coping appraisal
  • Exercise
  • Intention
  • Physical health

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