Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 140–149 | Cite as

Assessing the Relationships Among Wisdom, Humility, and Life Satisfaction

  • Neal Krause


The purpose of this study was to test two hypotheses that specify different ways of configuring the interface between wisdom and humility. The first hypothesis specifies that greater wisdom is associated with greater humility. This hypothesis is based on the notion that wisdom is needed in order to know when to activate the virtue of humility. The second hypothesis specifies that the relationship between humility and life satisfaction will vary according to the level of wisdom that is possessed by study participants. This hypothesis is based on the notion that wisdom is needed to successfully implement and regulate humility once it has been activated. The data come from a nationwide survey of middle-aged and older adults (N = 1535). The data support both hypotheses. First greater wisdom is associated with greater humility. Second, the results suggest that the relationship between humility and life satisfaction varies across levels of wisdom. The findings help ground the study of wisdom more firmly in the literature on virtues.


Wisdom Humility Well-being 



This research was supported by grants from the John Templeton Foundation and the National Institute on Aging (RO1 AG014749).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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