Original Research Original Research|Articles in Press

Positive self-perceptions of aging increase physical resilience to facilitate social re-engagement of older adults who fall: Analysis based on Health and Retirement Study data

Published:February 28, 2023DOI:



      To determine whether self-perceptions of aging (SPA) predict physical resilience following a fall and whether SPA and physical resilience affect subsequent social engagement in older adults with a fall.


      Prospective cohort study.


      General community.


      Older adults who reported a fall within 2 years after baseline data collection (n=1707, mean age 72.9 years, 60.9% women).

      Main outcome measure

      Physical resilience indicates the ability to resist or recover from functional decline from a stressor. The change in frailty status from directly after the fall to up to two years of follow-up was used to generate four physical resilience phenotypes. Social engagement was dichotomized based on the presence at one of the five social activities at least once a month. The 8-item Attitudes Toward Own Aging Scale was used to assess SPA at baseline. Multinomial logistic regression and nonlinear mediation analysis were used.


      Positive prefall SPA predicted more resilient phenotypes after a fall. Both positive SPA and physical resilience affected subsequent social engagement. Physical resilience partially mediated the association between SPA and social re-engagement (mediated percentage of 14.5 %, P = 0.004). This mediation effect was fully driven by those with previous falls.


      Positive SPA promotes physical resilience in older adults with a fall, both of which affect subsequent social engagement. Physical resilience partially mediated the effect of SPA on social engagement but only for previous fallers. Multidimensional recovery incorporating psychological, physiological and social aspects should be stressed in the rehabilitation of older adults who fall.


      List of abbreviations:

      SPA (self-perceptions of aging), HRS (Health and Retirement Study), LBQ (Leave-Behind Questionnaire), FI (frailty index), KHB (Karlson/Holm/Breen), RR (risk ratio), OR (odds ratio), CI (confidence interval), CV (coefficient of variance)
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