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Several screening instruments have been developed to assess fear of falling. We will distinguish these assessments as either direct or indirect.

Direct and Indirect assessments have been defined in different ways. In this presentation, direct assessments refer to those that assess fear of falling, fall concern or worry, or activity restriction due to fear of falling.

Indirect assessments refer to those that assess how fear of falling is manifested within the performance of activities. Seniors are asked how confident they are in their ability to perform specific activities without falling.

The idea of assessing confidence level in performing specific activities is based on Self-Efficacy theory by Albert Bandura. According to this theory, performance in activities depends upon how confident people are in their ability. In fall-related self-efficacy, low confidence in ability to perform an activity without falling decreases performance in that task because of ineffective coping. Even if a person has the ability to perform a task, low perceived self-efficacy will undermine performance. Self-efficacy is activity-specific. People may feel confident in some activities, while not confident in others. Therefore, assessments that examine self-efficacy will always include a variety of activities.