Associations of injurious falls and self-reported incapacities: Analysis of the national health interview survey

Dustin D. French*, Curtis E. Margo, Angelo P. Tanna, Nicholas J. Volpe, Laurence Z. Rubenstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the associative value of selected questions from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for screening adults older than 18 years at risk of injurious falls. Methods: Data from adults 18 years of age and older were extracted from the NHIS for 2011 relevant to an injurious fall within the preceding year. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to determine associations of self-reported injurious falls with key social-demographic, health, and physical function variables. Outcomes were reported as odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: Self-reported injurious fall within the preceding year was associated with difficulty climbing 10 steps without special equipment (OR, 3.22; 95% CI, 2.32Y4.46), loss of dependence for an activity of daily living (OR, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.17Y2.91), pain in legs and below the knees (OR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.23Y2.30), and moderate visual impairment (OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.18Y2.15). Women were at greater risk than men and those aged 75 years and older (OR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.02Y2.09). Conclusions: A subset of the NHIS questions are positively associated with injurious falls in the previous 12 months and may be of use in identifying adults at greater risk of future falls. The NHIS questions may serve to identify persons in need of targeted preventive services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-151
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of patient safety
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 23 2016


  • Accidental falls
  • Fall risk screening
  • Functional disability
  • Patient safety
  • Self-reported visual impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Leadership and Management


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