2008 Volume 20 Issue 4 Pages 249-253
[Purpose] The purpose of this study was to investigate the manner in which young adults step over an obstacle or initiate gait while performing a secondary Stroop task, which requires direct attention. [Subjects] Ten healthy young adults (5 male and 5 female) participated in the study. [Methods] Subjects first completed a Stroop task while standing (baseline) and then initiated gait or stepped over an obstacle as fast as possible with or without a secondary Stroop task. Response times to the secondary task and the gait parameters were measured. [Results] The response time to the secondary Stroop task in the stepping task was longest followed by gait initiation (GI) and standing (p<0.01). The values of bilateral step time and left stance time for stepping with the secondary task were significantly longer than stepping and GI without the secondary task (p<0.05). However, there were no significant differences between tasks in bilateral step and stride length. [Conclusion] This study suggests that even healthy and physically fit young adults have to modify gait parameters in situations where they are engaged in concurrent tasks because of their reduced ability to attend to multiple tasks simultaneously.