Early and Midlife Predictors of Wisdom and Subjective Well-Being in Old Age

Ardelt, M., Gerlach, K., & Vaillant, G. (2017). Early and Midlife Predictors of Wisdom and Subjective Well-Being in Old Age. Innovation in Aging, 1(suppl_1), 1059-1059.

Abstract: Objectives We explored whether wisdom and well-being in old age are the result of early personality traits related to personality growth or personality adjustment, respectively, or successful human development as outlined by Erikson’s stage theory and the life course paradigm. Method Structural equation models were applied to analyze 60-year longitudinal data of 98 white male Harvard graduates born between 1915 and 1924. Different sets of judges rated the men’s childhood and adolescence, early adult personality, and midlife generativity. Items measuring wisdom and well-being in old age were self-assessed. Results Although wisdom and subjective well-being at age 80 were positively correlated, early life predictors differed. Openness to experiences in early adulthood predicted wisdom 60 years later, whereas greater emotional stability and extraversion predicted subjective well-being. Additionally, old age wisdom could be traced back to psychosocial growth throughout life, facilitated by a supportive childhood, adolescent competence, emotional stability in early adulthood, and generativity at midlife. Discussion Personality traits indicative of personality adjustment or growth differentially predict late-life well-being and wisdom. Yet a balance between personality adjustment and growth, aided by social support and competence during the formative years, might be required to promote wisdom development throughout life.

Read the article: Ardelt, M., Gerlach, K., & Vaillant, G. (2017). Early and Midlife Predictors of Wisdom and Subjective Well-Being in Old Age. Innovation in Aging, 1(suppl_1), 1059-1059.



(Something interesting I found)Posted:Feb 01 2018, 12:00 AM by jlmatelski
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