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Critical Reviews™ in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
SJR: 0.121 SNIP: 0.228 CiteScore™: 0.5

ISSN Print: 0896-2960
ISSN Online: 2162-6553

Critical Reviews™ in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevPhysRehabilMed.v22.i1-4.60
pages 71-80

The Effect of Attentional Focus on Temporal-Spatial Parameters of Gait

Evan T. Cohen
Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 40 East Laurel Road, Suite 2105, Stratford, New Jersey, USA 08084
Nancy McNevin
Department of Kinesiology, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada
Angela Hegamin
College of Health Sciences, Trident University International, Cypress, CA, USA
Sharon A. Nazarchuk
College of Health Sciences, Trident University International, Cypress, CA, USA

ABSTRACT

Purpose: Examine the effect of attentional focus (AF) instructions on gait in a sample of older adults. Participants: Older adults residing in independent living quarters (N = 24). Interventions: Participants underwent baseline gait testing, and then testing in two experimental conditions using a randomized, crossover, repeated-measures design. Participants carried a cup of water while walking along an instrumented walkway. In the baseline condition, no AF-related instructions were provided. In each experimental condition, participants received instructions that directed AF to their movement mechanics [i.e., an internal AF (IAF)] or to the effect of their movements [i.e., an external AF (EAF)]. Main Outcome Measure(s): Walking velocity (WV), gait stability ratio (GSR), step-to-step variance in step time (STVAR) and in step length (SLVAR). Results: There were no differences between WV, GSR, and STVAR between experimental conditions, although WV and GSR performance was poorer under both IAF and EAF conditions compared to the baseline. Despite the similar WV and GSR between experimental conditions, STVAR was significantly higher under the EAF condition compared to the baseline and IAF conditions. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the use of an EAF directed to a suprapostural task alters gait variability while overall measures of gait function remain unchanged. Clinicians should consider manipulating AF during gait rehabilitation interventions to manipulate age-related constraint of movement


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