“It was the best worst day of my life”: Narrative Content, Structure, and Process in Wisdom-Fostering Life Event Memories

Weststrate, N. M., Ferrari, M., Fournier, M. A., & McLean, K. C. (2018). “It was the best worst day of my life”: Narrative Content, Structure, and Process in Wisdom-Fostering Life Event Memories. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B.

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine laypeople’s subjective understanding of their own wisdom development. To do this, autobiographical memories of wisdom-fostering life events were examined for (a) life-event characteristics, and (b) self-reflective processes believed to support growth in wisdom through life experience. Methods Midlife adults (N = 482) provided a written autobiographical memory of a wisdom-fostering life event. Memories were content analyzed by expert coders for life-event characteristics (i.e., fundamentality, emotional valence, cultural normativity, and specific event types) and self-reflective processes (i.e., narrative coherence, meaning-making, and personal growth). Participants also completed self-report and performance measures of wisdom. Results Wisdom-fostering life events tended to be fundamental to life, culturally non-normative, and emotionally negative. Participants frequently reported developing wisdom from relationship events (e.g., interpersonal conflict, divorce) and life-threatening/mortality events (e.g., death, serious illness). Wisdom was positively associated with reconstructive (i.e., narrative coherence) and analytical (i.e., meaning-making, personal growth) components of self-reflection. Self-reflective processes varied as a function of life-event characteristics. Discussion This study emphasizes the role of both persons and environments in the development of wisdom, and highlights the importance of self-reflection as a mechanism through which wisdom is constructed from life experience.

Read the article: Weststrate, N. M., Ferrari, M., Fournier, M. A., & McLean, K. C. (2018). “It was the best worst day of my life”: Narrative Content, Structure, and Process in Wisdom-Fostering Life Event Memories. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B.



(Something interesting I found)Posted:Feb 01 2018, 12:00 AM by jlmatelski
Join the Network    
Users are able to post wisdom-related news & publications, maintain a profile, and participate in discussion forums.

Sort By