Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Mark McMinn

Second Advisor

Kathleen Gathercoal

Third Advisor

MaryKate Morse


Psychological research on the topic of wisdom is limited in its incorporation of religion and spirituality. This gap in psychological literature may serve to limit a thorough understanding of wisdom, which has strong historical and contemporary links to religion and faith communities. Positive psychology, with its interest in both spirituality and wisdom, may allow for some rapprochement in wisdom and spirituality. In collaboration with leaders of a local Friends (Quaker) congregation, this study investigated the effects of a spiritually informed wisdom intervention delivered in the context of a faith community. Participants for the study consisted of 27 young adults (24 completed both the pre and post questionnaire) and a comparison group consisting of 32 young adults. The intervention was designed to increase participants’ abilities in cognitive, affective and moral domains, all of which are essential to the development of wisdom. The cohorts met twice monthly over the course of 3 months and were given assignments between meetings to help promote wisdom. Significant group by time interaction effects were found among measurements of practical wisdom, postformal thinking, and subjective well-being, with those in the experimental group showing changes in the expected direction. Implications are considered.

Included in

Psychology Commons