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Rapid stepping test towards virtual visual objects: Feasibility and convergent validity in older adults

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Rapid voluntary stepping has been recognized as an important measure of balance control.

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility and convergent validity of a Rapid Stepping Test protocol utilizing a virtual reality SeeMeTM system (VR-RST) in elderly ambulatory and independent individuals living in a community residential home.

METHODS:

Associations between step execution times determined by the system and the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) Questionnaire, and clinical measures of balance performance in the MiniBESTest and Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, were established in 60 participants (mean age 88.2 ± 5.0 years). All participants completed the study.

RESULTS:

The correlations of the ABC questionnaire and the clinical tests with VR-RST forward and backward stepping were moderate (ρ rage 0.42-0.52), and weak to moderate with sideward stepping (ρ rage 0.32-0.52). Moderate to strong correlations were found across stepping directions (ρ rage 0.45-0.87).

CONCLUSION:

Findings support the test's feasibility and validity and confirm the utility of the VR-RST as an assessment tool in an elderly population.

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