Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Family Environment


The primary purpose of the research study was to clarify the role of institutionalization on levels of activity and morale among aging schizophrenics. Social breakdown theory provided the theoretical framework for the study. Four subgroups of elderly male veterans were the subjects. The subjects were healthy elderly, schizophrenics living in a community, and schizophrenics and non-mentally ill frail elderly residing in a nursing home. Data were collected using the Philadelphia Geriatric Center Moral Scale, Activity Inventory, and Nurses' Observation Scale for In-patient Evaluation;Social breakdown theory would predict that years in the institution and the chronic nature of mental illness would result in lower morale and activity levels for older schizophrenics. In the study activity levels for the two institutionalized groups were similar. Older schizophrenics appear to have benefited from psychotropic medications and rehabilitation programs. They had significantly higher morale scores than the institutionalized frail elderly. The lower morale in the institutionalized frail elderly is explained by the major life changes experienced by them when entering an institution. The older schizophrenic was found to be less neat, more irritable, and more psychotic than the frail elderly. With longer residence in the institution the frail elderly showed an increase in negative behaviors. A correlation between health status and moral was not found. Deinstitutionalized schizophrenics on measures of morale and activity were significantly higher than the institutionalized schizophrenics, but no different than the healthy elderly on those measures. In both the institutionalized and deinstitutionalized schizophrenics a negative correlation was demonstrated between number of children and morale level;Recommendations are directed toward clinical application of findings. Programming suggestions are made for both institutionalized groups directed toward reducing the effects of social breakdown syndrome. Suggestions are made for future research on the well-being of schizophrenics.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Connie Higgins Vogel



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166 pages