Graduation Date

Spring 5-8-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Ka-Chun Siu

Second Advisor

Dawn M. Venema

Third Advisor

Teresa M. Cochran


Fear of falling (FOF) is a psychological condition that can lead to increased morbidity and mortality in the elder population. However, the subjective and multidimensional nature of FOF resulted in the limitations of existing FOF measurements, which could influence the quality of those studies. The present study aimed to quantify FOF by using objective center of pressure (COP) trajectories and muscle contraction of the lower extremity to compensate for those limitations. Nineteen young healthy adults (24 years ± 2.47) were recruited in the present study. Subjects were required to watch three 360-degree videos, one control video and two roller coaster videos, through virtual reality goggles during standing and sitting. One baseline trial without video and 6 trials with video were performed. Subjects were required to rate their FOF by a visual analogue scale after watching videos. Friedman test and Spearman’s correlation analysis were used to assess the changes in COP and electromyography (EMG) under different video conditions. Increased FOF, increased COP root mean square and range, and decreased COP mean power frequency were observed during watching roller coaster videos. However, muscle contraction did not show significant changes. Roller coaster videos induced FOF and postural control change successfully. With the increased FOF, people adopted a postural control strategy with decreased body sway frequency and increased body sway amplitude. Our study provided evidence that 360-degree roller coaster videos are effective tools to induce FOF; and body sway frequency and amplitude are sensitive parameters to quantify FOF.