This study applied an extended Protection Motivation Theory to investigate the relative importance of fear of falling (FoF) among motivational and intentional determinants of physical activity (PA) behavior.
Older U.S. adults (N = 667, 65+) were surveyed using online research panels and completed measures of self-efficacy and response efficacy (coping appraisal), perceived vulnerability and perceived severity (threat appraisal), FoF, autonomous motivation, intention, physical health, and past PA level.
Our structural equation model showed that past PA level and health predicted intention via cognitive constructs. PA and health predicted FoF and motivation via threat and coping appraisal. FoF did not directly predict intention.
Results from this sample provide support for the predictive effects of threat appraisal on fear. However, findings suggest that FoF may not be of great importance for the formation of PA intention compared with an established habit of being physically active and a subsequently fostered coping appraisal and motivation.