Examining the stability of dual-task posture and reaction time measures in older adults over five sessions: a pilot study

Deborah A. Jehu, Nicole Paquet, Yves Lajoie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background and aim: Improved performance may be inherent due to repeated exposure to a testing protocol. However, limited research has examined this phenomenon in postural control. The aim was to determine the influence of repeated administration of a dual-task testing protocol once per week for 5 weeks on postural sway and reaction time. Methods: Ten healthy older adults (67.0 ± 6.9 years) stood on a force plate for 30 s in feet apart and semi-tandem positions while completing simple reaction time (SRT) and choice reaction time (CRT) tasks. They were instructed to stand as still as possible while verbally responding as fast as possible to the stimuli. Results: No significant differences in postural sway were shown over time (p > 0.05). A plateau in average CRT emerged as the time effect revealed longer CRT during session 1 compared to sessions 3–5 (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the time effect for within-subject variability of CRT uncovered no plateaus as it was less variable in session 5 than sessions 1–4 (p < 0.05). Discussion: The lack of a plateau in variability of CRT may have emerged as older adults may require longer to reach optimal performance potential in a dual-task context. Conclusion: Postural sway and SRT were stable over the 5 testing sessions, but variability of CRT continued to improve over time. These findings form a basis for future studies to examine performance-related improvements due to repeated exposure to a testing protocol in a dual-task setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1211-1218
Number of pages8
JournalAging Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Dual-task
  • Older adults
  • Posture
  • Reaction time
  • Repeated assessment
  • Task complexity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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