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Objectives: Falls occur frequently among older adults and can lead to a range of adverse and debilitating outcomes. Although symptoms of clinical anxiety have been implicated as risk factors for falls, there is no current consensus on the empirical association between anxiety and falls. The current study aimed to address this gap in the literature by conducting a quantitative, meta-analytic review of findings from previous studies. Method: A systematic literature search of bibliographic databases was conducted, yielding 18 studies that fit the criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Results: A random-effects model of all 18 studies showed a significant overall odds ratio of 1.53 ( 95% CI 1.28–1.83, p < .001 ), indicating that elevated levels of anxiety were associated with a 53% increased likelihood of falls. A high amount of variance among effect sizes was observed. Only age was identified as a moderator of this relationship in a subgroup of the samples. Conclusions: Clinical anxiety is associated with falls, however, further research is required to elucidate the factors that might moderate or mediate this relationship, the casual pathways through which they are related, and the associations between different types of anxiety and falls.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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Journal Article

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