Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Physical Therapy (M.S.)

Degree Program

Physical Therapy


Research has shown that narrower stance widths lead to increased postural sway. There is also evidence of increased postural sway with cognitive loading. However, no research has been done to investigate the effect of a cognitive load on stance width. The purpose of this study was to determine if a cognitive task affected the stance widths of healthy, community dwelling 65-80 year old adults. Subjects underwent six task trials (three cognitive, three non-cognitive) after which their stance width was measured. Cognitive task trials required subjects to count backwards by 7's; non-cognitive task trials required subjects to look at a picture of a nature scene. The Greenhouse-Geisser test revealed no statistical significant difference between the stance widths for the cognitive and non-cognitive trials. This finding suggests that cognitive loading may not have an effect on stance width. Future research is needed to examine the power of cognitive loading and how it relates to stance width.


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