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The Relationship of Wisdom to Positive Functioning in Older American Adults

Publication Authors: 
Anne Colby
Publication Year: 

This paper reports the results of a mixed-methods study of a large, diverse national sample of Americans between the ages of 50 and 92. The study includes a survey of 1200 respondents and in-depth interviews with a subset of 100. Among the survey measures is a shortened version of Gluck et al.’s (2013) Brief Wisdom Scale, along with scales that assess other positive attributes that represent varied aspects of maturity and positive functioning such as gratitude and empathy. Upon conclusion of the in-progress qualitative coding of the 100 in-depth interviews, this paper will further illuminate the ways that wisdom plays out in the lives of older Americans—in particular with regard to how it functions vis-à-vis positive development in later life—as well as help explicate the contribution (and possible limitations) of the Brief Wisdom Scale.