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Adaptation of the three-dimensional wisdom scale (3D-WS) for the Korean cultural context

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2014

Seungyoun Kim*
Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center, 3715 McClintock Avenue, Los Angeles, California, USA
Bob G. Knight
Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center, 3715 McClintock Avenue, Los Angeles, California, USA
Correspondence should be addressed to: Seungyoun Kim, Doctoral Candidate, Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center, 3715 McClintock Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90089-0191, USA. Phone: 213-740-8015. Email:



Previous research on wisdom has suggested that wisdom is comprised of cognitive, reflective, and affective components and has developed and validated wisdom measures based on samples from Western countries. To apply the measurement to Eastern cultures, the present study revised an existing wisdom scale, the three-dimensional wisdom scale (3D-WS, Ardelt, 2003) for the Korean cultural context.


Participants included 189 Korean heritage adults (age range 19–96) living in Los Angeles. We added a culturally specific factor of wisdom to the 3D-WS: Modesty and Unobtrusiveness (Yang, 2001), which captures an Eastern aspect of wisdom. The structure and psychometrics of the scale were tested. By latent cluster analysis, we determined acculturation subgroups and examined group differences in the means of factors in the revised wisdom scale (3D-WS-K).


Three factors, Cognitive Flexibility, Viewpoint Relativism, and Empathic Modesty were found using confirmatory factor analysis. Respondents with high biculturalism were higher on Viewpoint Relativism and lower on Empathic Modesty.


This study discovered that a revised wisdom scale had a distinct factor structure and item content in a Korean heritage sample. We also found acculturation influences on the meaning of wisdom.

Research Article
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2014 

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