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Int J Aging Hum Dev. 2008;66(4):259-81.

Cultural values, life experiences, and wisdom.

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  • 1Human Development and Family Studies, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80524, USA.


Wisdom is considered one ideal endpoint of human development across cultures. Studies have provided evidence for certain facilitating conditions such as challenging and stressful life events because they increase differentiation through accommodative changes, resulting in greater tolerance for uncertainty, and less projection tendencies and self-centeredness. Positive experiences may also facilitate wisdom by fostering integration and coherence. However, cultural values, particularly conservation and openness, may moderate these experiences for older adults. In a sample of middle-aged to older community dwelling European American adults (n = 97), results suggested that experiencing a macrosocial event as a negative experience, and spiritual/existential as a positive experience, interacted with conservation value to predict transcendent wisdom. Among Vietnamese American adults (n = 102), macrosocial event alone was negatively related to transcendent wisdom. These results suggest that not endorsing conservation value as one grows older and experiences different life events is beneficial for wisdom.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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