How wisdom, resilience and mastery work together to boost well-being in old age

How wisdom, resilience and mastery work together to boost well-being in old age

UF News
Brooke Adams

It’s not just wisdom that gives some people a sense of well-being as they age.

A new study shows that while wise people tend to be more satisfied with their lives, wisdom also works to strengthen resilience and mastery to reduce stress and enable a person to better handle late life adversity and aging-related losses.

Understanding how wisdom, resiliency and mastery work together to improve a person’s subjective well-being later in life is important given common challenges of aging, from death of loved ones and close friends to impaired health and mobility, said Monika Ardelt, lead author and a sociology professor at the University of Florida. It is also important because traits that mark wisdom, resiliency and mastery can be taught.

The study was published in the German journal Praxis Klinische Verhaltensmedizin und Rehabilitation (Practice of Clinical Behavioral Medicine and Rehabilitation). Dilip V. Jeste of the University of California, San Diego, is the co-author.

The researchers used data on 994 adults from the Successful AGing Evaluation study conducted in California to assess the interplay between resilience, mastery, perceived stress and wisdom and response to adverse life events. The average age of those studied was 77.

Wisdom was assessed using a three-dimensional model Ardelt developed, which incorporates cognitive, reflective and compassionate dimensions — an interest in life’s deeper meaning and acceptance of life’s uncertainties; being able to…

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