This study investigated the roles of mindfulness and balance to optimize strategies for fall prevention in healthy older adults. The purpose of this study was to examine the association of mindfulness with respect to balance in healthy older adults who are experienced in meditative versus non-meditative modes of neuromotor exercise. This was a comparative descriptive study that used a convenience sample of N=86 older adults (20 male; mean age = 69.33 ± 7.24; range: 60 – 93 years). The sample included experienced participants of meditative (e.g., yoga, Tai chi) and non-meditative (e.g., partnered dance) neuromotor exercise recruited from community yoga, Tai chi, and dance studios, respectively. The variables of mindfulness, age, and sex were examined as predictors of the outcome variable of balance. Dispositional mindfulness was measured with the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, and postural balance was assessed using the One-legged Stance Test, a measure of the number of seconds a participant can stand on one with eyes closed. Multiple regression analyses were used to answer the research questions. The results did not reveal either mode of neuromotor exercise to predict balance better; neither age nor sex was a moderator of mindfulness, and mindfulness did not act as a mediator between age, sex, and balance. What the findings did reveal were higher levels of balance and mindfulness amongst study participants compared to normative community-dwelling populations from the published literature. Next, balance was found to decrease with increasing age and was greater in males than females. Most remarkably, dancers were found to have significantly higher levels of mindfulness than Tai chi and yoga participants, which suggests that formal meditation may not be an essential component of neuromotor exercise for the cultivation of mindfulness. The results have important implications for theory, research, practice, and policy.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Nursing
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Hicks, Maxine, "The Influences of Mindfulness and Neuromotor Exercise Mode on Balance in Healthy Older Adults" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5739.