Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Doris A. Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Ann Bush

Third Advisor

Dr. Molly Vass

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The effect of mental practice on improving walking balance in an elderly population was studied. Walking balance was measured by the number of upper extremity equilibrium reactions elicited and placement of feet observed as subjects traversed an activity course. Twenty-three female subjects between the ages of 67-90 were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The experimental group mentally practiced traversing the activity course with the aid of a six minute audio tape. The control group participated in sedentary activities of equal duration. Both groups met for eight sessions. Independent and correlated t-tests indicated no significant difference in walking balance between groups at p < .05. There was a significant difference in equilibrium reactions when subjects carried objects as opposed to walking with their hands free at p < .05. The results and implications are discussed in terms of their significance to occupational therapy practice and research.

Included in

Gerontology Commons