Comparing the psychometric properties of two measures of wisdom: predicting forgiveness and psychological well-being with the Self-Assessed Wisdom Scale (SAWS) and the Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (3D-WS)

Exp Aging Res. 2011 Mar;37(2):129-41. doi: 10.1080/0361073X.2011.554508.


Two recently developed scales of wisdom were compared on their abilities to have their dimensional structure replicated and to predict relevant personality (i.e., forgiveness) and life satisfaction (i.e., psychological well-being) variables. One hundred and seventy-six primarily (71%) Australian participants ranging in age from 18 to 68 years (M = 36.60, SD = 12.07) completed an online survey of the Self-Assessed Wisdom Scale (SAWS; Webster, 2003, Journal of Adult Development, 10, 13-22; 2007, International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 65, 163-183), the Three-Dimensional Wisdom Scale (3D-WS; Ardelt, 2003, Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 52B, 15-27), the Heartland Forgiveness Scale (Thompson et al., 2005, Journal of Personality, 73, 313-360), Ryff's (1989, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069-1081) measure of psychological well-being (PWB), and a measure of social desirability (BIDR; Paulhus, 1984, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 598-609). Results indicated that the dimensional structure of the SAWS, but not the 3D-WS, replicated, and the 3D-WS, but not the SAWS, was contaminated by a social desirability response bias. Both scales predicted equally well PWB and forgiveness in predicted directions. Implications for future use of both scales are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Australia
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality*
  • Psychometrics / methods*
  • Self-Assessment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wit and Humor as Topic
  • Young Adult