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Healthy ageing, perceived motor-efficacy, and performance on cognitively demanding action tasks

Potter, L.M. and Grealy, M.A. and O'Connor, R.C. (2009) Healthy ageing, perceived motor-efficacy, and performance on cognitively demanding action tasks. British Journal of Psychology, 100 (1). pp. 49-70. ISSN 0007-1269

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Abstract

Current measures assessing older adults' functional ability detect existing limitations on essential tasks rather than changes in other aspects of functioning that could indicate future limitations. The perceived motor-efficacy scale was developed to measure capability beliefs of healthy older adults across a range of daily action tasks. Subscales were developed through interviews with older volunteers and academics, then administered to participants aged 60-96 (N ¼ 300). Factor analysis of subscale scores produced 10 subscales. These demonstrated strong internal reliability, which was replicated with a second sample aged 60-92 (N ¼ 167). The influence of perceived motor-efficacy on performance of cognitively demanding action tasks was investigated with a third sample aged 60-88 (N ¼ 134). On a task assessing the inhibition of an inappropriate action, older adults in their 80s with high confidence produced minor errors, whereas those with lower confidence produced extreme errors. On another task assessing the ability to inhibit a previously learnt action, those with high levels of perceived motor-efficacy performed better amongst those least able to inhibit, but more poorly among those most able. Perceived motor-efficacy may therefore be useful in identifying older adults at risk of functional limitations and enabling interventions before the onset of illness.