Two self-report scales of mood and morale were administered to 45 elderly in-patient depressives and 45 non-patient controls, matched for age and sex. The responses of the two groups differed significantly in the predicted direction. When 18 patients from the depressive group were re-tested 6 to 8 weeks later, at discharge, significant declines in self-reported depression, and increases in ‘life-satisfaction’ were reported. Within the depressive group, there was a significant relationship between ‘overt’ depressive behaviour on the ward and self-reporting of greater depressive symptoms, and lower ‘life-satisfaction’. The importance of independent validation of self-report measures of mood and morale in elderly populations is discussed.