Background and Purpose - Research has shown that balance training is effective for reducing the fear of falling in individuals with a history of stroke. In this study, we evaluated (1) whether cognitive behavior therapy could augment the beneficial effects of task-oriented balance training (TOBT) in reducing the fear of falling in chronic stroke survivors and (2) whether it could, in turn, reduce fear-avoidance behavior and improve related health outcomes. Methods - Eighty-nine cognitively intact subjects with mildly impaired balance ability were randomized into the following 2 groups that underwent 90-minutes interventions 2 days per week for 8 weeks: (1) cognitive behavior therapy + TOBT or (2) general health education + TOBT (control). The primary outcome was the fear of falling, and the secondary outcomes were fear-avoidance behavior, balance, fall risk, independent daily living, community integration, and health-related quality of life. The outcomes were assessed at baseline, after 4 and 8 weeks of intervention, and 3 and 12 months after completing the intervention. Results - Eighty-two subjects completed the intervention and follow-up assessments. From postintervention to 12 months after completing the intervention, the cognitive behavior therapy + TOBT participants reported greater reduction in the fear of falling and fear-avoidance behavior and greater improvements in balance and independent daily living than the general health education + TOBT participants. Conclusions - Cognitive behavior therapy should be considered as an adjuvant therapy to standard physiotherapy for cognitively intact individuals with a history of stroke. Clinical Trial Registration - URL: https://clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT02937532.
- avoidance learning
- cognitive therapy
- quality of life
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Advanced and Specialised Nursing