AccScience Publishing / JCBP / Volume 1 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.36922/jcbp.0945
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ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE

Wisdom capacities in people with and without chronic mental health problems: A representative survey on a general German adult population

Beate Muschalla1*
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1 Department of Psychotherapy and Diagnostics, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany
Submitted: 12 May 2023 | Accepted: 21 August 2023 | Published: 21 September 2023
© 2023 by the Author(s). This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ )
Abstract

Wisdom capacities are important for coping with difficult and ambiguous life situations. People with chronic mental health problems often have problems in coping with life problems. Until now, there are no comparative and representative data on the distribution of wisdom capacities people with and without chronic mental health problems. Identifying strengths and limitations in wisdom capacities in both groups will give a basis for specific focus in wisdom training in clinical settings and public health. This cross-sectional observation study examined a German population with a representative sample of 2505 persons aged 16 – 95 years in 2019. Sociodemographic data as well as chronic mental illnesses data were collected, and wisdom capacities were assessed by the 12-WD Wisdom Scale. The surveys were carried out using interviews and self-report questionnaires at the respondents’ homes by an experienced social research company. The wisdom capacities value and problem relativization, as well as emotion acceptance were scored the highest by people with and without chronic mental health problems. Uncertainty tolerance, sustainability and perspective change received the lowest scores. People with chronic mental health problems had slightly lower overall wisdom affinity (M = 7.00, SD = 1.41 on a scale of 0 – 10) as compared to mentally healthy people (M = 7.7, SD = 1.38). Specifically, persons with chronic mental health problems reported the lowest ratings on wisdom capacities requiring active cognitive reflections (sustainability, perspective change, and uncertainty tolerance). In conclusion, since there are rather small quantitative differences between persons with and without chronic mental health problems, the wisdom concept seems appropriate to be applied to all individuals, regardless of the severity and nature of mental health problems. Wisdom enhancement, for instance, by means of wisdom training, may be focused on wisdom capacities which were rated comparably low, including perspective change, uncertainty tolerance and sustainability.

Keywords
Wisdom
Mental health
Coping
Representative
Funding
German Pension Agency
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Conflict of interest
The author declares that they have no conflict of interest.
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Journal of Clinical and Basic Psychosomatics, Electronic ISSN: 2972-4414 Published by AccScience Publishing