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Wisdom Deficit Disorder [60 Sec Psych]

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Patients don’t just look to their health care providers for medications, they also turn to for wisdom in times of crisis. Dr. Ellen Lee and colleagues at the University of California San Diego speculate that wisdom could be a vaccination against several of the epidemics that continue to rise in Western society: social isolation, loneliness, suicide, and opioid abuse.

Lee EE, Bangen KJ, Avanzino JA, et al. Outcomes of Randomized Clinical Trials of Interventions to Enhance Social, Emotional, and Spiritual Components of Wisdom: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry. 2020;e200821. [Link]

Published On: 5/29/20

Duration: 1 minute, 52 seconds

Resources: The San Diego Wisdom Scale

Transcript:

Patients don’t just look to their health care providers for medications, they also turn to for wisdom in times of crisis. Dr. Ellen Lee and colleagues at the University of California San Diego speculate that wisdom could be a vaccination against several of the epidemics that continue to rise in Western society: social isolation, loneliness, suicide, and opioid abuse.

They wondered if therapy could booster wisdom, and developed this meta-analysis of 57 trials to answer that question. First, some definitions. They divide “wisdom” into discrete parts:

Prosocial relationships (those that are guided empathy and compassion), emotional regulation, and spirituality.

If you’re thinking “There must be more to wisdom than that!” there are more components, but none of them were tested in clinical trials. They were: self-reflection, tolerance of uncertainty, and decisiveness.

The result: All three aspects of wisdom improved with the various therapies tested, which ranged from cognitive behavioral therapy to mindfulness to spiritual counseling. There were 57 clinical trials, and the effect sizes were medium to large. 

The study was lead by Dilip Jeste, a past president of the APA who is known for his research in schizophrenia and healthy aging. Dr. Jeste developed a scale to measure wisdom. Take it yourself it’s in the podcast notes.

Lee EE, Bangen KJ, Avanzino JA, et al. Outcomes of Randomized Clinical Trials of Interventions to Enhance Social, Emotional, and Spiritual Components of Wisdom: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry. 2020;e200821.  

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