Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Health Sciences

Department

Rehabilitation Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer McKeon

Abstract

Lower extremity injuries are the most common sports related injury. Many steps have been taken to attempt to identify individuals who might be at a higher risk for sustaining a lower extremity injury. Resource and time intensive screening techniques have been used previously to attempt to identify such individuals. However these techniques have focused heavily on postural control and landing mechanics in athletes, no psychological measure has been used to identify individuals who might be at a higher risk of lower extremity injury.

Self-efficacy of balance can be defined as how capable an individual feels he or she can balance in different scenarios. Research in the balance deficient population (elderly, post-stroke, knee osteoarthritis) has revealed that selfefficacy of balance is a quantifiable psychological component of balance related behavior. As previously stated, current screening techniques for lower extremity injuries do not incorporate psychological measures. Research suggests that psychological indicators of balance confidence are important to measure in conjunction with balance test performance to establish the relationship between the two constructs. Assessment of these factors is necessary to examine how psychological measures affect performance on tests used in clinical balance assessments.

The objective of this dissertation was to develop the Self-Efficacy of Balance Scale (SEBS), a psychometrically sound self-efficacy of balance instrument for use in the young, active population. The relationship between selfefficacy of balance and self-reported measures of lower extremity function, and clinical and laboratory measures of balance were also examined in the young, active population. It was hypothesized that a valid, reliable, responsive tool could be created to accurately and precisely measure self-efficacy of balance in a young, active population. It addition, it was hypothesized that high levels of selfefficacy of balance would have a significant, positive relationship with selfreported measure of lower extremity function, and clinical and laboratory measure of balance.

Results from the three studies brought about several interesting observations. Studies one, two, and three demonstrated evidence of a psychometrically sound instrument. This indicates that the SEBS is a valid, reliable, responsive self-efficacy of balance instrument when evaluating young, active individuals. Study three demonstrated the relationships between selfefficacy of balance and self-reported measures of function, and objective measures of balance. These relationships revealed that while lower extremity function and some measures of balance influence scores of the SEBS, they do not account for all of the variability of the SEBS. This finding further supports the claim that balance behavior is changing as function and postural control change. Therefore, future research should include investigation regarding the utility of the SEBS, as well as longitudinal studies to establish effectiveness of identifying individuals at a higher risk of sustaining a lower extremity injury.

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