Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were eligible for inclusion in the review.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies of any type of intervention that were or were not explicitly aimed at reducing the fear of falling were eligible for inclusion. The included studies evaluated a variety of different types of interventions including fall-related multifactorial interventions, t'ai chi, exercise, balance, hip protectors and fall risk factor interventions. Some interventions were home-based and others were conducted in groups in the community. Most of the interventions were aimed at reducing falls; three were explicitly aimed at reducing the fear of falling. The duration of interventions ranged from one home visit to 1 hour of exercise every week for 1 year. The control interventions included usual care, written information, social home visits, stretching exercises, education about falls, discussion sessions and activities.
Participants included in the review
Studies of interventions that targeted the general population of community-living older people (mean age 65 years and older) were eligible for inclusion. Studies targeting people with a specified medical condition were excluded. Most of the included studies were of ambulatory men and women aged 60 years and older.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Studies that assessed the fear of falling were eligible for inclusion. This measure could be a primary or secondary outcome. Most of the included studies measured fear of falling using the Falls Efficacy Scale (FES), the Modified Falls Efficacy Scale or an adaptation of the FES; some studies used a one-item fear of falling measure.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts.