Wednesday, November 22, 2017

How to Measure Wisdom


As you might guess, psychological scientists disagree on the definition of wisdom. Here's one definition with a list of features that captures some scientific thinking (from evidenced-based).

Psychologists are finding that societies do share an agreed understanding and conception of wisdom. Wisdom is a construct composed of the following traits:

  • Deep self-knowledge
  • Social intelligence and life skills
  • Broad compassion
  • Emotional management
  • Multi-model perspective-taking
  • Uncertainty navigation
Several scales have been developed to measure various characteristics. As with many psychological survey items, measures of wisdom rely on self-report. In this post, I will present one scale and provide links to information about additional wisdom scales.

3 D Wisdom Scale (3DWS)

Monika Ardelt is a professor of sociology at the University of Florida. She developed the Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (2003). Her model of wisdom included the following three dimensions:

Reflective: considers various perspectives when examining phenomena, which reduces excessive subjectivity and projection.

Cognitive: an ability to appraise reality and see how reality relates to intrapersonal and interpersonal aspects of life.

Affective: capacity to consider others with sympathy and compassion

Early Scale items

The 3DWS items were reduced from 132 to 39 items in research conducted in North and Central Florida. The number of items for the scales are: Reflective 12, Cognitive 14, and Affective 13.

Take the Wisdom Test Online:  Link to the 39-item scale online.

3DWS12: A Short Version

Monica Ardelt and her colleagues (Thomas, Bangen, Ardelt, & Jeste, 2017) created a short version with 12 items. The larger sample has 1,546 adults in the age range of 21 to 100 (M = 66). The authors report adequate consistency values (Coefficient Alpha).

Full Scale = .86 and subscales .69

Short 12-item version = .73 and subscales .63

Item sample for Short Scale (all rated as 1 (strongly agree) to 5 (strongly disagree).

A problem has little attraction for me if I don’t think it has a solution.

When I look back on what has happened to me, I can’t help feeling resentful.

I’m easily irritated by people who argue with me.

See the Thomas et al., 2017 article for details.

There are other measures of wisdom, which you can find at evidence-based wisdom.


Ardelt, M. (2003). Empirical assessment of a three-dimensional wisdom scale. Research on Aging, 25(3), 275-324.

Thomas, M. L., Bangen, K. J., Ardelt, M., & Jeste, D. V. (2017). Development of a 12-item abbreviated Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (3D-WS-12): Item selection and psychometric properties. Assessment, 24, 71-82.

Learn more assessment and statistical concepts in

Applied Statistics: Concepts for Counselors

Learn how to add wisdom or other items to surveys

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Measuring Gratitude

I have written elsewhere about gratitude. People high in the virtue of gratitude are often high in other virtues as well such as optimism and life satisfaction. They also tend to be more religious. In the previous post, The Psychology of Gratitude, I list some suggestions to increase gratitude.

In this post, I refer to a set of items to assess gratitude. The Gratitude Questionnaire uses six items and was published by McCullough, Emmons, and Tsang in 2002.

In previous research, the authors found support for one factor. Coefficient alpha, a measure of interitem consistency, ranged from .76 to .84 in samples reported by the authors  (McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002; McCullough, Tsang, & Emmons, 2002).

Rating the Scale Items

When using the scale in surveys the items are rated on a 7-point scale from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (7). High scores indicate a higher level of self-reported gratitude.

Here's the 7-point rating: 1 = strongly disagree 2 = disagree 3 = slightly disagree 4 = neutral 5 = slightly agree 6 = agree 7 = strongly agree

Here is the six-item scale:

____1. I have so much in life to be thankful for.

____2. If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list.

____3. When I look at the world, I don’t see much to be grateful for.*

____4. I am grateful to a wide variety of people.

____5. As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history.

____6. Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone.*

*The items marked with an asterisk are reverse scored so a score of 7 counts as 1 and a score of 6 become 2 and so on.

The total score should be between 6 and 42.

A score of 38 was at the 50th percentile in a sample of 1,224. See the link for more information.

And, here is a link to research studies using the scale (Gratitude Questionnaire). You will find information on scoring and interpreting the scores.

The scale has been used in research studies along with other scales.

It may also be relevant in some counseling situations.

Learn more assessment and statistical concepts in

Applied Statistics: Concepts for Counselors


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Gratitude References

McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., & Tsang, J. (2002). The grateful disposition: A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 112-127.

McCullough, M. E., Tsang, J., & Emmons, R. A. (2004). Gratitude in intermediate affective terrain: Links of grateful moods to individual differences and daily emotional experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 295-309.

Also, learn more about assessment and statistics at the Applied Statistics website

Connections and Links to Resources

My Page
My Books   AMAZON
FACEBOOK   Geoff W. Sutton
TWITTER  @Geoff.W.Sutton
LinkedIN Geoffrey Sutton  PhD
Publications (many free downloads)
     Academia   Geoff W Sutton   (PhD)
     ResearchGate   Geoffrey W Sutton   (PhD)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Marriage & Divorce Rates by Age and Year

Two charts illustrate how the divorce rate and the remarriage rate in the United States vary across seven age groups. See the captions in the charts for the sources of these data.

The rate of divorce is much higher for younger persons than for older persons but the rate of divorce has declined among younger persons than for older persons for the two-year comparison—1990 and 2015.

Remarriage rates are also much higher for younger persons but there is a significant drop since 1990 for younger persons compared to the relatively stable rate for older persons.

What is not obvious in these data are changes in people living together.

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