Onset of frailty in older adults and the protective role of positive affect

Psychol Aging. 2004 Sep;19(3):402-8. doi: 10.1037/0882-7974.19.3.402.


The aim of this study was to examine the longitudinal association between positive affect and onset of frailty for 1,558 initially nonfrail older Mexican Americans from the Hispanic Established Populations for Epidemiological Studies of the Elderly database. The incidence of frailty increased 7.9% during the 7-year follow-up period. High positive affect was found to significantly lower the risk of frailty. Each unit increase in baseline positive affect score was associated with a 3% decreased risk of frailty after adjusting for relevant risk factors. Findings add to a growing positive psychology literature by showing that positive affect is protective against the functional and physical decline associated with frailty.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Affect*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly / psychology*
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / psychology*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Personality Inventory
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk
  • Sick Role
  • Walking