Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Ronan S. Bernas


Wisdom is known as the pinnacle of personal growth and psychological functioning in humans. It has a distinguished place in philosophy and religion. Its examination as a psychological process started only a few decades ago, and has been a growing area of research since then. However, very limited research has been conducted so far that explores the developmental process of wisdom. The purpose of the present study was to investigate wisdom as a function of coping with difficulties of life. Only two studies have attempted to establish the relationship between wisdom and coping, with one being primarily qualitative in nature (Ardelt, 2005), interviewing individuals who have been judged as 'wise' about how they usually cope with difficult life situations. Kanwar’s (2013) correlational analysis which examined the coping styles of wise individuals and few other variables in relation to wisdom had some limitations which the present study addressed. The current study specifically examined the relationship between twelve different coping strategies and the three dimensions of wisdom: cognitive, reflective and affective. One hundred and sixty college students responded to well-established psychological measures of wisdom and coping. The results showed that the coping strategy of positive reinterpretation and growth strongly predicted the development of wisdom, while strategies like focusing on venting of emotions and denial encumbered wisdom. The results confirmed findings of past research and also demonstrated new relationships between coping and wisdom. Possible explanations for the outcomes, recommendations for future research, and clinical implications are presented.