Objectives: The objectives were to study changes in morale in individuals 85 years and older, and to assess the effect of negative life events on morale over a five-year follow-up period.
Method: The present study is based on longitudinal data from the Umeå85+/GERDA-study, including individuals 85 years and older at baseline (n = 204). Morale was measured with the Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale (PGCMS). Negative life events were assessed using an index including 13 negative life events occurring during the follow-up period. Linear regression was used for the multivariate analyses.
Results: The majority of the sample (69.1%) had no significant changes in morale during the five-year follow-up. However, the accumulation of negative life events was significantly associated with a greater decrease in PGCMS. A higher baseline PGCMS score did not attenuate the adverse effect negative life events had on morale.
Conclusion: Morale seemed to be mainly stable in a five-year follow-up of very old people. It seems, nonetheless, that individuals are affected by negative life events, regardless of level of morale. Preventing negative life events and supporting individuals who experience multiple negative life events could have important implications for the care of very old people.