The Relationship Between Physical Function and Resilience in Community Dwelling Older Adults
Shelby O’Dowd, SPT; Tyler Roberts, SPT; Samantha Schlake, SPT; Ann Marie, Decker, PT, MSA, GCS
Background and Purpose: Determining resilience and how this relates to physical function and emotional function can broaden and enhance physical therapy interventions in community dwelling older adults. Resilience is defined as a dynamic process that allows an individual to “bounce back” from adverse circumstances or conditions.3 High physical function, as measured by physical performance measures, may provide a protective effect that facilitates recovery when adversity is encountered and may decrease the likelihood of functional decline.3 This study seeks to expand on previous research which focused on the relationship between resilience and physical function in Catholic nuns. The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between resilience, physical function, and depression in the population of community dwelling older adults. Hypothesis: Community-dwelling older adults who report a higher level of resilience will subsequently demonstrate a higher level of physical function and will report fewer depressive episodes. Subjects: Data was collected on 131 volunteers (5 exclusions), aged 55-92, across multiple community and faith-based facilities. Methods and Materials: A total of four tests were used to assess volunteer subjects. Self-reported measures included the Resilience Scale (RS-14) and the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Physical performance tests included the 10 meter walk test (10MWT), for casual and fast gait speed, and the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). The St. Louis University Mental Status Examination (SLUMS) was used as an inclusion/exclusion factor for cognition. Results: A multi way ANOVA was used to determine the difference between resilience, location, age, gender, and assistive device. There was no significance found (p< 0.05), even when age was used as a covariate. A Pearson Correlation was used to determine the relationship between resilience, GDS, SPPB,10MWT (casual and fast pace), and age. Significant, inverse relationships were found between resilience and GDS score (-.294), SPPB and 10MWT (-.616 casual; -.654 fast), and SPPB and age (-.403). Significant, positive relationships were found between resilience and age (.178), 10MWT casual gait speed and 10MWT fast gait speed (.910), and age and 10MWT (.387 casual; .461 fast). Discussion: The positive relationship between age and resilience is a unique finding to this study. Individuals with increased age reported higher resilience, and those with a higher resilience score reported decreased depression levels. Future studies should further examine the relationship between resilience and physical function and correlations between community and faith based older adult populations regarding resilience, physical function and depression. Conclusions: No significant difference was found between reported resilience and physical performance measures. Our study showed a relationship between age and resilience scores as well as an inverse relationship between resilience and depression. Resilience, depression and physical function are all important considerations when treating the older adult.