Antecedents and Effects of Wisdom in Old Age A Longitudinal Perspective on Aging Well (Ardelt, 2000)

Abstract: Using longitudinal data on 82 White, California women from the Berkeley Guidance Study, this study examines the relationship between wisdom (defined as a combination of cognitive, reflective, and affective personality qualities) and aging well and explores the early antecedents of wisdom. In structural equation models with latent variables, the social environment of early adulthood has a significant positive influence on wisdom over 40 years later, whereas mature personality characteristics during the early years of life and the quality of one’s childhood exert no enduring effects. Wisdom in the later years has a positive effect on women’s life satisfaction, physical health, and the quality of their family relationships. Hence, wisdom appears to be an important predictor of aging well.

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