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In a national survey in Britain, 983 elderly people randomly selected from eight areas were asked about falls they had had in the past. The independent association of social and physical variables with a history of one or more falls was analysed by multiple logistic regression. Those who had fallen one or more times had reduced grip strength and were less mobile than those who had not fallen. More of them used non-phenothiazine tranquilizers, lived alone, had recently lost weight or were physically disabled. Independent of these influences, a history of having fallen was strongly related to place of residence. Part of this relationship was explained by differences in housing, in particular the percentage of houses without indoor lavatories.

Original publication




Journal article


Age and ageing

Publication Date





47 - 51


MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital.


Muscles, Humans, Weight Loss, Anti-Anxiety Agents, Activities of Daily Living, Risk Factors, Random Allocation, Housing, Accidents, Home, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Female, Male, United Kingdom