Effects of gait self-efficacy and lower-extremity physical function on dual-task performance in older adults

Diane K. Ehlers, Sarah E. Banducci, Ana M. Daugherty, Jason Fanning, Elizabeth A. Awick, Gwenndolyn C. Porter, Agnieszka Burzynska, Sa Shen, Arthur F. Kramer, Edward McAuley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives. Despite evidence of self-efficacy and physical function's influences on functional limitations in older adults, few studies have examined relationships in the context of complex, real-world tasks. The present study tested the roles of self-efficacy and physical function in predicting older adults' street-crossing performance in single- and dual-task simulations. Methods. Lower-extremity physical function, gait self-efficacy, and street-crossing success ratio were assessed in 195 older adults (60-79 years old) at baseline of a randomized exercise trial. During the street-crossing task, participants walked on a self-propelled treadmill in a virtual reality environment. Participants crossed the street without distraction (single-task trials) and conversed on a cell phone (dual-task trials). Structural equation modeling was used to test hypothesized associations independent of demographic and clinical covariates. Results. Street-crossing performance was better on single-task trials when compared with dual-task trials. Direct effects of self-efficacy and physical function on success ratio were observed in dual-task trials only. The total effect of self-efficacy was significant in both conditions. The indirect path through physical function was evident in the dual-task condition only. Conclusion. Physical function can predict older adults' performance on high fidelity simulations of complex, real-world tasks. Perceptions of function (i.e., self-efficacy) may play an even greater role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8570960
JournalBioMed research international
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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