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What Traits Benefit Mental Health In Old Age?

Scientists at the Center of Healthy Ageing at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, did a study on 29 elderly adults from Southern Italy to see the psychological characteristics that benefit mental health in old age.  The elderly adult ages were between the ages of 90 and 101.  The study also involved younger family members of the adults, who were ages of 51 to 75 years old.

During the study the adults were interviewed by a psychologist.  The psychologist asked them about their personalities, life histories, culture, traditions, and experiences of grief and trauma.  The younger adults were asked to share their views on “the personality traits of their older relatives”.

The team found that although the elderly adults had poorer physical health, they had better mental health than the younger family members.  They found that the elderly adults had optimism, stubbornness, and a good work ethic.  They seemed overall happier than the younger adults in the research.

The team said, “Studying the strategies of exceptionally long-lived and lived-well individuals, who not just survive but also thrive and flourish, enhances our understanding of health and functional capacities in all age groups.”

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