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Emotional stress as a trigger of falls leading to hip or pelvic fracture: Results from the ToFa study - a case-crossover study among elderly people in Stockholm, Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine.
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2009 (English)In: BMC Geriatrics, ISSN 1471-2318, Vol. 9, 7- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Sudden emotions may interfere with mechanisms for keeping balance among the elderly. The aim of this study is to analyse if emotional stress and specifically feelings of anger, sadness, worries, anxiety or stress, can trigger falls leading to hip or pelvic fracture among autonomous older people.


The study applied the case-crossover design and was based on data gathered by face to face interviews carried out in Stockholm between November 2004 and January 2006 at the emergency wards of two hospitals. Cases (n = 137) were defined as persons aged 65 and older admitted for at least one night due to a fall-related hip or pelvic fracture (ICD10: S72 or S32) and meeting a series of selection criteria. Results are presented as relative risks with 95% confidence intervals.


There was an increased risk for fall and subsequent hip or pelvic fracture for up to one hour after emotional stress. For anger there was an increased relative risk of 12.2 (95% CI 2.7-54.7), for sadness of 5.7 (95% CI 1.1-28.7), and for stress 20.6 (95% CI 4.5-93.5) compared to periods with no such feelings.


Emotional stress seems to have the potential to trigger falls and subsequent hip or pelvic fracture among autonomous older people. Further studies are needed to clarify how robust the findings are - as the number of exposed cases is small - and the mechanisms behind them - presumably balance and vision impairment in stress situation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 9, 7- p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-123656DOI: 10.1186/1471-2318-9-7PubMedID: 19203356OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-123656DiVA: diva2:315236
Available from: 2010-04-28 Created: 2010-04-28 Last updated: 2012-07-25Bibliographically approved

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