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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Maintaining Moral As We Age
Answer this questionnaire and then see if the results match your self-perception Scoring is straightforward:  Each high-morale response receives a score of “1” and each low-morale response a score of “0,” so that total score ranges from 0-17.  Although factors may be used separately for special purposes, the total score is preferred.

1. Things keep getting worse as I get older.               Yes__ No__
2. I have as much pep as I had last year.                   Yes__  No__
3. How much do you feel lonely?                   Not much__  A lot__
4. Little things bother me more this year.                    Yes__ No__
5. I see enough of my friends and relatives.               Yes__ No__
6. As you get older, you are less useful.                     Yes__ No__
7. I sometimes worry so much that I can’t sleep.        Yes__ No__
8. As I get older, things are (better/worse) than I thought they would            be.                                                                   Better__ Worse__
9. I sometimes feel that life isn’t worth living.               Yes__ No__
10. I am as happy now as I was when I was younger. Yes__ No__
11. I have a lot to be sad about.                                   Yes__ No__
12. I am afraid of a lot of things.                                   Yes__ No___
13. I get mad more than I used to.                               Yes__ No__
14. Life is hard for me much of the time.                      Yes__ No__
15. How satisfied are you with your life today?
                                                               Satisfied __  Not Satisfied_
16. I take things hard.                                                   Yes__ No__
17. I get upset easily.                                                    Yes__ No__

The three factors, which emerge from the morale scale, are described below.

Agitation.   Items 4, 7, 12, 13, 16 and 17 load on Factor 1.  Labeled Agitation, this set of items characterizes the anxiety experienced by the older person.  Lawton suggests, in addition, that “there is a driving, restless, agitated quality to the dysphoric mood . . . (1972, p. 155).”  Clinically neurotic feelings are reflected, and this group of items may serve as a manifest anxiety scale for older people (Lawton, 1975).[ii]

Attitude Toward Own Aging.   Items, which relate to the older person’s attitude toward the aging process they experience comprise Factor 2.  Items 1, 2, 6, 8 and 10 are included in this factor, which captures the individual’s perception of the changes taking place in his or her life, and asks for an evaluation of those changes.

Lonely Dissatisfaction.   Factor 3 represents the older person’s acceptance or dissatisfaction with the amount of social interaction they are presently experiencing.  The items do not hold expectations for a high level of interpersonal contact, but rather seek to ascertain the individual’s reaction to the relationships he or she maintains.  Items 3, 5, 9, 11, 14 and 15 are associated with Factor 3.

If this questionnaire generates concerns for you with any of these factors, it could be a good idea to find help with someone you trust whether it is a professional counselor, a respected friend or a spiritual leader.

[ii] Lawton, M.P. (1975).  The Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale:  A revision.              Journal of Gerontology, 30, 85-89.

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