Previous studies have shown that personality types may lead to different health status. The current study aims to refine a previous typological profile of strength using a heterogeneous sample (N = 5776) and clarify further the associations between strength profiles and mental wellbeing (e.g., flourishing), mental illbeing (e.g., depression, anxiety, and stress), strength knowledge, and strength use. Latent profile analysis was implemented to distinguish subgroups on the basis of the three-dimensional inventory of character strengths (e.g., self-control, inquisitiveness, and caring). Results refined previous findings and indicated three specific profiles, namely, Strength, Common, and Risk Groups. The Strength Group scored relatively high on self-control and inquisitiveness but low on caring; the Common Group scored relatively high on caring; and the Risk Group had relatively high scores on self-control. As expected, the Strength Group had the highest strength knowledge and strength use, whereas the Risk Group had the least strength knowledge and strength use. The three proposed profiles have significant differences of anxiety, stress, and flourishing; however, the difference of depression between the Strength and Risk Groups was insignificant compared with the Common Group. This study can be helpful in refining strength typologies for future effective strength-based interventions.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Akaike, H. (1974). New look at statistical-model identification. IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, AC,19(6), 716–723.
Asparouhov, T., & Muthén, B. (2014). Auxiliary variables in mixture modeling: Three-step approaches using Mplus. Structural Equation Modeling A Multidisciplinary Journal,21(3), 329–341. https://doi.org/10.1080/10705511.2014.915181.
Atari, M., & Yaghoubirad, M. (2016). The Big Five personality dimensions and mental health: The mediating role of alexithymia. Asian Journal of Psychiatry,24, 59–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajp.2016.08.008.
Bakk, Z., & Vermunt, J. K. (2016). Robustness of stepwise latent class modeling with continuous distal outcomes. Structural Equation Modeling A Multidisciplinary Journal,23(1), 20–31. https://doi.org/10.1080/10705511.2014.955104.
Bergman, L. R., & Magnusson, D. (1997). A person-oriented approach in research on developmental psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology,9(2), 291. https://doi.org/10.1017/S095457949700206X.
Bird, V. J., Le, B. C., Leamy, M., Larsen, J., Oades, L. G., Williams, J., et al. (2012). Assessing the strengths of mental health consumers: A systematic review. Psychological Assessment,24(4), 1024–1033. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0028983.
Bravo, A. J., Boothe, L. G., & Pearson, M. R. (2016). Getting personal with mindfulness: A latent profile analysis of mindfulness and psychological outcomes. Mindfulness,7(2), 420–432. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-015-0459-7.
Bruna, M. O., Brabete, A. C., & Izquierdo, J. M. A. (2018). Reliability generalization as a seal of quality of substantive meta-analyses: The case of the VIA inventory of strengths (VIA-IS) and their relationships to life satisfaction. Psychological Reports. https://doi.org/10.1177/0033294118779198.
Burnham, K. P., & Anderson, D. R. (2004). Multimodel inference understanding AIC and BIC in model selection. Sociological Methods & Research,33(33), 261–304. https://doi.org/10.1177/0049124104268644.
Cheung, F. M., Van de Fons, J. R., & Leong, F. T. L. (2011). Toward a new approach to the study of personality in culture. American Psychologist,66(7), 593–603. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022389.
Cohen, J. (1983). The cost of dichotomization. Applied Psychological Measurement,7(3), 249. https://doi.org/10.1177/014662168300700301.
Deary, I. J., Weiss, A., & Batty, G. D. (2010). Intelligence and personality as predictors of illness and death: How researchers in differential psychology and chronic disease epidemiology are collaborating to understand and address health inequalities. Psychological Science in the Public Interest A Journal of the American Psychological Society,11(2), 53–79. https://doi.org/10.2307/41038735.
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development, and health. Canadian Psychology,49(3), 182–185. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0012801.
Duan, W. (2016). The benefits of personal strengths in mental health of stressed students: A longitudinal investigation. Quality of Life Research,25(11), 2879–2888. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136-016-1320-8.
Duan, W., & Bu, H. (2017). Development and initial validation of a short three-dimensional inventory of character strengths. Quality of Life Research,26(9), 2519–2531. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136-017-1579-4.
Duan, W., Bu, H., Zhao, J., & Guo, X. (2018). Examining the mediating roles of strengths knowledge and strengths use in an one-year single-session character strength-based cognitive intervention. Journal of Happiness Studies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-018-0014-z.
Duan, W., & Guo, P. (2015). Association between virtues and posttraumatic growth: Preliminary evidence from a Chinese community sample after earthquakes. Peerj,3, e883. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.883.
Duan, W., Guo, P., & Gan, P. (2015). Relationships among trait resilience, virtues, post-traumatic stress disorder, and posttraumatic growth. PLoS ONE,10(5), e0125707.
Duan, W., & Ho, S. M. Y. (2017). Three-dimensional model of strengths: Examination of invariance across gender, age, education levels, and marriage status. Community Mental Health Journal,53(2), 233–240. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-016-0038-y.
Duan, W., Ho, S. M. Y., Yu, B., Tang, X., Zhang, Y., Li, T., et al. (2012). Factor structure of the chinese virtues questionnaire. Research on Social Work Practice,22(6), 680–688. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049731512450074.
Duan, W., Li, J., & Mu, W. (2017). Psychometric characteristics of strengths knowledge scale and strengths use scale among adolescents. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734282917705593.
Duan, W., & Wang, Y. (2018). Latent profile analysis of the three-dimensional model of character strengths to distinguish at-strengths and at-risk populations. Quality of Life Research. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136-018-1933-1.
Duan, W., & Xie, D. (2016). Measuring adolescent flourishing: Psychometric properties of flourishing scale in a sample of chinese adolescents. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734282916655504.
Dziak, J. J., Bray, B. C., Zhang, J., Zhang, M., & Lanza, S. T. (2016). Comparing the performance of improved classify-analyze approaches for distal outcomes in latent profile analysis. Methodology European Journal of Research Methods for the Behavioral & Social Sciences,12(4), 107. https://doi.org/10.1027/1614-2241/a000114.
Ferguson, E. (2013). Personality is of central concern to understand health: Towards a theoretical model for health psychology. Health Psychology Review,7(sup1), S32–S70. https://doi.org/10.1080/17437199.2010.547985.
Friedman, H. S. (2008). The multiple linkages of personality and disease. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity,22(5), 668–675. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbi.2007.09.004.
Gable, S. L., & Haidt, J. (2005). What (and why) is positive psychology? Review of General Psychology,9(2), 103–110. https://doi.org/10.1037/1089-26126.96.36.199.
Gable, S. L., Reis, H. T., & Elliot, A. J. (2000). Behavioral activation and inhibition in everyday life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,78(6), 1135–1149. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.525.
Govindji, R., & Linley, P. A. (2007). Strengths use, self-concordance and well-being: Implications for strengths coaching and coaching psychologists. International Coaching Psychology Review,2(2), 143–153.
Hampson, S. E., & Friedman, H. S. (2008). Personality and health: A lifespan perspective handbook of personality: Theory and research (3rd ed., pp. 770–794). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Haridas, S., Bhullar, N., & Dunstan, D. A. (2017). What’s in character strengths? Profiling strengths of the heart and mind in a community sample. Personality and Individual Differences,113, 32–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2017.03.006.
Ho, S. M. Y., Rochelle, T. L., Law, L. S. C., Duan, W., Bai, Y., & Shih, S. M. (2014). Methodological Issues in Positive Psychology Research with Diverse Populations: Exploring Strengths Among Chinese Adults. In J. T. Pedrotti & L. M. Edwards (Eds.), Perspectives on the intersection of multiculturalism & positive psychology (pp. 45–57). New York: Springer.
Hoerger, M., Coletta, M., Sörensen, S., Chapman, B. P., Kaukeinen, K., Tu, X., et al. (2016). Personality and perceived health in spousal caregivers of patients with lung cancer: The roles of neuroticism and extraversion. Journal of aging research,2016, 5659793. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/5659793.
Joseph, S., & Wood, A. (2010). Assessment of positive functioning in clinical psychology: Theoretical and practical issues. Clinical Psychology Review,30(7), 830. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2010.01.002.
Kotov, R., Gamez, W., Schmidt, F., & Watson, D. (2010). Linking “big” personality traits to anxiety, depressive, and substance use disorders: A meta-analysis (Press release).
Lanza, S. T., & Rhoades, B. L. (2013). Latent class analysis: An alternative perspective on subgroup analysis in prevention and treatment. Prevention Science,14(2), 157–168. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-011-0201-1.
Li, T., Duan, W., & Guo, P. (2017). Character strengths, social anxiety, and physiological stress reactivity. Peerj,5, e3396. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3396.
Liu, X., Lv, Y., Ma, Q., Guo, F., Yan, X., & Ji, L. (2016). The basic features and patterns of character strengths among children and adolescents in China. Studies of Psychology & Behavior,27(5), 536–542. https://doi.org/10.3969/j.issn.1672-0628.
Lo, Y. T., Mendell, N. R., & Rubin, D. B. (2001). Testing the number of components in a normal mixture. Biometrika,88(3), 767–778. https://doi.org/10.1093/biomet/88.3.767.
Lovibond, S. H., & Lovibond, P. F. (1995). Manual for the depression anxiety and stress scales (2nd ed.). Sydney: Psychological Foundation.
Manikam, R. (2002). Mental health of children and adolescents. In N. N. Singh, T. H. Ollendick, & A. N. Singh (Eds.), International perspectives on child and adolescent mental health (Vol. 2, pp. 1–36). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Marsh, H. W., Lüdtke, O., Trautwein, U., & Morin, A. J. S. (2009). Classical latent profile analysis of academic self-concept dimensions: Synergy of person- and variable-centered approaches to theoretical models of self-concept. Structural Equation Modeling,16(2), 191–225. https://doi.org/10.1080/10705510902751010.
Mcgrath, R. E. (2015). Integrating psychological and cultural perspectives on virtue: The hierarchical structure of character strengths. Journal of Positive Psychology,10(5), 407–424. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2014.994222.
Merz, E. L., & Roesch, S. C. (2011). A latent profile analysis of the five factor model of personality: Modeling trait interactions. Personality and Individual Differences,51(8), 915–919. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2011.07.022.
Mischel, W. (2004). Toward an integrative science of the person. Annual Review of Psychology,55, 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.55.042902.130709.
Mischel, W., & Shoda, Y. (1998). reconciling processing dynamics and personality dispositions. Annual Review of Psychology,49(1), 229–258. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.49.1.229.
Moran, C. M., Diefendorff, J. M., Kim, T. Y., & Liu, Z. Q. (2012). A profile approach to self-determination theory motivations at work. Journal of Vocational Behavior,81(3), 354–363. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2012.09.002.
Musek, J. (2007). A general factor of personality: Evidence for the Big One in the five-factor model. Journal of Research in Personality,41(6), 1213–1233. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2007.02.003.
Nurius, P. S., & Macy, R. J. (2008). Heterogeneity among violence-exposed women: applying person-oriented research methods. Journal of Interpersonal Violence,23(3), 389–415. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260507312297.
Nylund, K. L., Asparouhov, T., & Muthén, B. O. (2007). Deciding on the number of classes in latent class analysis and growth mixture modeling: A Monte Carlo simulation study. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal,14(4), 535–569. https://doi.org/10.1080/10705510701575396.
Osborne, D., & Sibley, C. G. (2013). After the disaster: Using the big-five to predict changes in mental health among survivors of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Disaster Prevention and Management,22(5), 456–466. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-09-2013-0161.
Otonari, J., Nagano, J., Morita, M., Budhathoki, S., Tashiro, N., Toyomura, K., et al. (2012). Neuroticism and extraversion personality traits, health behaviours, and subjective well-being: the Fukuoka Study (Japan). Quality of Life Research,21(10), 1847–1855. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136-011-0098-y.
Ovejero, M., Brabete, A., & Alvarado, J. (2017). I can’t get no satisfaction: Measurement invariance and gender differences in the spanish version of the satisfaction with life scale. In Paper presented at the fifth world congress on positive psychology, Montreal.
Park, N. (2004). Character strengths and positive youth development. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,591(1), 40–54. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002716203260079.
Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2006). Moral competence and character strengths among adolescents: The development and validation of the values in action inventory of strengths for youth. Journal of Adolescence,29(6), 891–909. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2006.04.011.
Park, N., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Strengths of character and well-being. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology,23(5), 603–619. https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.23.5.603.50748.
Proctor, C., Maltby, J., & Linley, P. A. (2011). Strengths use as a predictor of well-being and health-related quality of life. Journal of Happiness Studies,12(1), 153–169. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-009-9181-2.
Proyer, R. T., Gander, F., Wellenzohn, S., & Ruch, W. (2013a). What good are character strengths beyond subjective well-being? The contribution of the good character on self-reported health-oriented behavior, physical fitness, and the subjective health status. Journal of Positive Psychology,8(3), 222–232. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2013.777767.
Proyer, R. T., Ruch, W., & Buschor, C. (2013b). Testing strengths-based interventions: A preliminary study on the effectiveness of a program targeting curiosity, gratitude, hope, humor, and zest for enhancing life satisfaction. Journal of Happiness Studies,14(1), 275–292. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-012-9331-9.
Proyer, R. T., Wellenzohn, S., Gander, F., & Ruch, W. (2015). Toward a better understanding of what makes positive psychology interventions work: predicting happiness and depression from the person × intervention fit in a follow-up after 3.5 years. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being,7(1), 108–128. https://doi.org/10.1111/aphw.12039.
Quinlan, D., Swain, N., & Vella-Brodrick, D. A. (2012). Character strengths interventions: Building on what we know for improved outcomes. Journal of Happiness Studies,13(6), 1145–1163. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-011-9311-5.
Ramaswamy, V., Desarbo, W. S., Reibstein, D. J., & Robinson, W. T. (1993). An empirical pooling approach for estimating marketing mix elasticities with PIMS data. Marketing Science,12(1), 103–124.
Roberts, B. W., Kuncel, N. R., Shiner, R., Caspi, A., & Goldberg, L. R. (2007). The power of personality: The comparative validity of personality traits, socioeconomic status, and cognitive ability for predicting important life outcomes. Perspectives on Psychological Science,2(4), 313–345.
Ruch, W., Weber, M., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2014). Character strengths in children and adolescents reliability and initial validity of the german values in action inventory of strengths for youth (German VIA-Youth). European Journal of Psychological Assessment,30(1), 57–64.
Rushton, J. P., & Irwing, P. (2011). The general factor of personality. In S. V. S. T. Chamorro-Premuzic & A. A. Furnham (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell handbook of individual differences (pp. 132–161). London: Wiley-Blackwell.
Ryff, C. D., Dienberg Love, G., Urry, H. L., Muller, D., Rosenkranz, M. A., Friedman, E. M., et al. (2006). Psychological Well-Being and Ill-Being: Do They Have Distinct or Mirrored Biological Correlates? Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics,75(2), 85–95. https://doi.org/10.1159/000090892.
Schwarz, G. (1978). Estimating the Dimension of a Model. Annals of Statistics,6(2), págs. 15–18.
Sclove, S. L. (1987). Application of model-selection criteria to some problems in multivariate analysis. Psychometrika,52(3), 333–343.
Seligman, M. E. P. (2015). Chris Peterson’s unfinished masterwork: The real mental illnesses. Journal of Positive Psychology,10(1), 3–6. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2014.888582.
Smidt, W., Kammermeyer, G., & Roux, S. (2015). Relations between the big five personality traits of prospective early childhood pedagogues and their beliefs about the education of preschool children: Evidence from a German study. Learning and Individual Differences,37, 96–106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2014.11.002.
Strickhouser, J. E., Zell, E., & Krizan, Z. (2017). Does personality predict health and well-being? A metasynthesis. Health Psychology: Official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association,36(8), 797–810. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000475.
Suh, H., Gnilka, P. B., & Rice, K. G. (2017). Perfectionism and well-being: A positive psychology framework. Personality and Individual Differences,111, 25–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2017.01.041.
Tang, X., Duan, W., Wang, Z., & Liu, T. (2016). Psychometric evaluation of the simplified Chinese version of flourishing scale. Research on Social Work Practice,26(5), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049731514557832.
Toner, E., Haslam, N., Robinson, J., & Williams, P. (2012). Character strengths and wellbeing in adolescence: Structure and correlates of the values in action inventory of strengths for children. Personality and Individual Differences,52(5), 637–642. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2011.12.014.
World Health Organization, W. (2018). World Mental Health Day 2018. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mental_health/world-mental-health-day/2018/en/.
Yoo, J. P., & Ahn, J. (2017). Understanding the typologies of child subjective well-being: A cross-country comparison. Children and Youth Services Review. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.06.061.
Zhang, W., Wang, A.-N., Yao, S.-Y., Luo, Y.-H., Li, Z.-H., Huang, F.-F., et al. (2016). Latent profiles of posttraumatic growth and their relation to differences in resilience among only-child-lost people in China. PLoS ONE,11(12), e0167398. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0167398.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The Human Subjects Ethics Sub-Committee of the Department of Sociology and Wuhan University approved this study. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Written informed consent was obtained by click a button from the participants before they completed the survey.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Duan, W., Qi, B., Sheng, J. et al. Latent Character Strength Profile and Grouping Effects. Soc Indic Res 147, 345–359 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-019-02105-z
- Latent profile analysis
- Character strength
- Strength profile
- Mental health
- Strength-based intervention