quintessence of successful human development

How Wise People Cops,„ Crises an st

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God grant me the serenity To accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can: And the wisdom to know the difference. —Serenity Prayer
Wisdom is often believed to he the quintessence of successful human development (Erikson 1963: Erikson, Erik-son, and Kivnick 1986; Hart 1987: Staudinger and Pasupatbi 2003). Wise people are considered to be exceptionally mature, integrated, satisfied with life, able to make decisions in difficult and uncer-tain life matters, and capable of dealing with any crisis and obstacle that they encounter (Ardelt 2000a, 2000b; Ass-mann 1994: Baltes and Freund 2(X)3; Baltes and Kunzmann 2003; Bianchi 1994; Clayton 1982; Dittmann-Kohli and

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Monika Ardelt
Baltes 1990: Kekes 1983, 1995; Kramer 2000; Kunzmann and Baltes 2003: Stern-berg I 990b, 1998: Vaillant 1993, 2002). In fact, successfully coping with crises and hardships in life might not only be a I-n-tark of wise individuals but also one of the pathways to wisdom (Ardelt 1998; Bianchi 1994; Kramer 1990; Pascual-Leone 2000). According to Pascual-Leone (2000), “. . . ultimate limit situa-tions that cannot be undone and are nonetheless faced with consciousness and resolve—situations like death, illness, aging, irremediable oppression or loss, extreme poverty, rightful resistance or rebellion, guilt, absolute failure, danger, uncontrollable tear, etc., lead to the natur-al emergence of a transcendental self, if they do not destroy the person first” (247, emphasis in the original). Yet, no research to date has analyzed what wise individuals actually do when
confronted with hardship ilnd obstacles in life. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study was to examine how relatively wise older people cope with
Monika Ardek is associate professor of sociology at the University of Florida. She is also a founding faculty member and member of the advisory com-mittee at the Center for Spirituality and Health at the University of Florida. Ardelt received her MA in Sociology from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe—University of FrankfureMain in Gemiany and her PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging to develop and assess the empirical validity and reliability of a three-dimensional wisdom scale and was elected as a Brookdale National Fellow to study the similarities and differences between aging and dying well. This year. she was elected as a Positive Psychology Templeton Senior Fellow to work with George Vaillant. MD, on a project examining the associa-tion between spirituality and living well Ardelt`s publication credits include articles in Journals of emmology, Social Psyciodogy QuarterN and Research m Aging.
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Reference no: EM132069492

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