Assessment of 3-dimensional wisdom in schizophrenia: Associations with neuropsychological functions and physical and mental health

Recent decades have seen growing empirical research in wisdom as a complex, trait-based psychological characteristic. Wisdom has been shown to possess individual and societal benefits through associations with health and well-being, but it has not yet been evaluated in people with schizophrenia (PwS). In the current study, we administered a widely used, validated 3-dimensional wisdom scale that includes three interrelated dimensions: cognitive, reflective, and affective. We examined group differences in wisdom, as well as relationships between wisdom and sociodemographics, clinical symptoms, neurocognitive and functional performance, and mental and physical health in 65 stable adult outpatients with chronic schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and 96 non-psychiatric comparison participants (NPCPs). Results showed that PwS had lower wisdom scores than NPCPs and that wisdom moderated relationships between diagnostic group and neurocognitive and functional performance; PwS with higher levels of wisdom demonstrated better cognitive performance than did PwS with lower levels of wisdom. In addition, wisdom was positively correlated with performances on multiple neurocognitive tasks in PwS, but not in NPCPs. Finally, reflective wisdom – representing accurate/unbiased introspection and perspective-taking – correlated with all mental health variables in PwS. Our results were limited by a cross-sectional design, but suggest that wisdom, especially reflective wisdom, may be associated with better cognitive performance and better physical and mental health in PwS. It is conceivable that interventions to enhance wisdom may have broad cognitive and mental and physical health benefits in individuals with chronic psychotic disorders.

– Ryan Van Patten et. al.

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