Profiles of wisdom among emerging adults: Associations with empathy, gratitude, and forgiveness

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Profiles of wisdom among emerging adults: Associations with empathy, gratitude, and forgiveness

The objective of this cross-sectional study was to examine multidimensional profiles of wisdom among emerging adults. We expected individuals who displayed deeper perspective across multiple dimensions of wisdom to also report greatest adjustment in reports of empathy, gratitude, and forgiveness. Two hundred and sixty-three undergraduate students reported dispositional empathy, gratitude, and forgiveness. Participants also responded to situational vignettes concerning gratitude and forgiveness. Wisdom was measured by coding written advice to hypothetical dilemmas. Cluster analyses supported four wisdom profiles: ‘Procedure-Focused,’ emphasizing methods for addressing challenges; ‘Fact-Focused,’ accentuating factual knowledge; ‘Shallow Perspective,’ showing less perspective across all dimensions; and ‘Deep Perspective,’ showing greater perspective across all dimensions. Participants in the ‘Shallow Perspective’ profile reported less empathy than those in the ‘Deep Perspective’ and ‘Procedure-Focused’ profiles. There were no differences in gratitude and forgiveness across clusters. Results suggest that emerging adults who have more fully developed perspectives about life challenges show greater interpersonal strengths.

Citation: 
The Journal of Positive Psychology, Volume 11, Issue 3, 2016, 315-325

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