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Sociology and Criminology & Law


Dr. Monika Ardelt


Monika Ardelt’s research focuses on successful human development across the life course with particular emphasis on the relations between wisdom, purpose and meaning in life, spirituality, aging well, and dying well. Her overall goal is to identify factors that lead to both aging and dying well and that might help families and institutions to facilitate well-being and psychological growth for the elderly until the very end of life under conditions that are more cost-effective and humane than customary practice.

What project are you working on now?

I study the predictors, correlates, and effects of personal wisdom across the life course and in various populations. I am particularly interested how wisdom helps people and especially older adults to cope with crises and hardships in their lives.

How did you get interested in research on Human Development?

For my dissertation research, I was interested to study significant predictors of life satisfaction in old age and aging well. Following the traditions of Erikson, Jung, and Maslow and their theories of life-long psychosocial development and growth and the principles of human agency and life-span development of the life course perspective, I hypothesized that older adults’ degree of wisdom is more important in predicting well-being than objective circumstances. Indeed, besides subjective health, wisdom is a consistent and significant predictor of greater subjective well-being, particularly in old age.

What do you do for fun?

I like to be with family or friends.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I have lived the first half of my life in Germany and the second part in the United States.