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Effects of Self-Reported Wisdom on Happiness: Not Much More Than Emotional Intelligence?

Abstract

Wisdom and emotional intelligence are increasingly popular topics among happiness scholars. Despite their conceptual overlap, no empirical research has examined their interrelations and incremental predictive validities. The aims of this study were (a) to investigate associations between multidimensional conceptualizations of self-reported wisdom (Ardelt in Res Aging 25(3):275–324, 2003, 2004) and emotional intelligence (Davies et al. in J Pers Soc Psychol 75:989–1015, 1998) and (b) to examine the joint effects of self-reported wisdom and emotional intelligence on dimensions of happiness (life satisfaction as well as positive and negative affect). Data were provided by two samples: 175 university students and 400 online workers. Correlations between a composite wisdom score, a composite emotional intelligence score, and happiness facets were positive and moderate in size. Regression analyses showed that the effects of composite wisdom on life satisfaction and positive affect (but not negative affect) became weaker and non-significant when composite emotional intelligence was controlled. Additional analyses including three dimensions of the self-reported wisdom (cognitive, reflective, and affective wisdom) and four dimensions of emotional intelligence (self- and others-emotions appraisal, use and regulation of emotion) revealed a more differentiated pattern of results. Implications for future research on wisdom and happiness are discussed.

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Correspondence to Hannes Zacher.

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Zacher, H., McKenna, B. & Rooney, D. Effects of Self-Reported Wisdom on Happiness: Not Much More Than Emotional Intelligence?. J Happiness Stud 14, 1697–1716 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-012-9404-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-012-9404-9

Keywords

  • Wisdom
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Life satisfaction
  • Positive affect
  • Negative affect