Committee Chair

Crawford, Elizabeth K.

Committee Member

Rausch, David W.; Harbison, John W.; Cruz, Elicia D.


School of Professional Studies


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


As the population ages, there exists a desire to stay active and in one’s own home. Institutionalization is required for some individuals, with the primary causes being falls, frailty, and cognitive decline. Body motion gaming systems and mind-body practices have been successfully utilized to address balance, cognition, and social engagement in different patient populations. This study was designed to investigate if similar benefits could be seen in healthy, community dwelling older adults. Eleven participants volunteered for the study. Pre, post, and one-month post assessments performed included the Berg Balance Scale, Functional Gait Assessment, 30-second Chair Stand Test, Montreal Cognitive Assessment, and Satisfaction with Life Scale. Participants were assigned into either a body motion gaming group, in which they played Wii Sports, or a mind body practice group, that used YouTube guided Tai Chi and yoga videos. Groups met two times per week for six weeks. Focus groups were conducted with all participants to assess perceived benefits, meaningfulness of the engaged occupation, and importance of small group participation. Although there were minimal statistically significant changes to the groups, multiple individuals made strong gains, including moving from fall risk scores on pretests to above cutoff levels. This was similar with cognitive scores. Qualitatively, individuals recognized progress not only in themselves, but also in their peers. They enjoyed the activities as well as their groups and felt accountable to one another to be present. After the conclusion of the study, some individuals started their own gaming group and another began attending community Tai Chi classes. The individuals from this study regularly cited the importance of remaining active and being part of groups for quality of life. The body motion gaming and mind-body practice provided an opportunity for not only improving balance and cognition by trying new activities, but also social engagement by participating with peers.


Ph. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.




Body-mind centering; Occupational therapy for older people; Video games


body motion gaming; cognition; community dwelling older adults; falls; mind-body practice; occupational therapy

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




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