ADVANTAGES

One major limitation of the study is the on-line convenience sample that was not representative of the general Dutch population. Women, middle-aged adults, and people of higher educational attainment were overrepresented, which might have influenced the results, although we controlled for those demographic characteristics in the analyses. Our sample was also selective among higher age groups. Older adults who use the internet might be more educated, economically privileged, healthier, and/or resourceful than those who do not, which might explain the lack of a significant interaction effect between the older adult age groups and wisdom on happiness. It is still possible that older adults in general and particularly disadvantaged older adults benefit more from wisdom than younger individuals. Another limitation is that respondents knew they were completing a wisdom and happiness questionnaire, which might have biased their answers in a more socially desirable and ‘wise’ direction. Results might have been different if a performance-based wisdom measure that was unaffected by social desirability bias and inaccurate self-judgements had been used (Staudinger and Glück ). Moreover, the wisdom test was probably an important reason why many participants visited the website of the newspaper in the first place. As a consequence, people with more than an average interest in wisdom were probably overrepresented in the sample, which might have further biased the findings. It is possible that the correlation between wisdom and happiness would have been stronger in a more diverse sample and if respondents had been unaware of the purpose of the study, which might have increased the variability of the wisdom and happiness scores. A common method bias might have also affected the results, although we tried to minimize the effect of common method variance by guaranteeing anonymity, presenting the wisdom questionnaire first and the happiness questions last, and using different answer scales for the wisdom questionnaire and the happiness questions (Podsakoff et al. ).

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