Personality traits and individual differences predict changes in postural control under conditions of height-induced postural threat
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This thesis explored whether individual characteristics could predict changes in postural control in young adults under conditions of height-induced postural threat. Eighty-two young adults completed questionnaires to assess trait anxiety, trait movement reinvestment, physical risk-taking, and previous experience with height-related activities. Tests of static (quiet standing) and anticipatory (rise to toes) postural control were completed under conditions of low and high postural threat manipulated through changes in surface height. Individual characteristics were able to significantly predict changes in static, but not anticipatory postural control. Trait movement reinvestment and physical risk-taking were the most influential predictors. Evidence was provided that changes in fear and physiological arousal mediated the relationship between physical risk-taking and changes in static postural control. These results suggest that individual characteristics shape the postural strategy employed under threatening conditions and may be important for clinicians to consider during balance assessment and treatment protocols.