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Character Strengths and PERMA: Investigating the Relationships of Character Strengths with a Multidimensional Framework of Well-Being

  • Lisa Wagner
  • Fabian Gander
  • René T. Proyer
  • Willibald Ruch
Article

Abstract

Character strengths are positively valued traits that are expected to contribute to the good life (Peterson and Seligman 2004). Numerous studies have confirmed their robust relationships with subjective or hedonic well-being. Seligman (2011) provided a new framework of well-being suggesting five dimensions that encompass both hedonic and eudemonic aspects of well-being: positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning and accomplishment (forming the acronym PERMA). However, the role of character strengths has not been studied so far in this framework. Also, most studies on the relationships between character strengths and well-being only have only relied on self-reports. This set of two studies examines the relationships of character strengths and the orientations to well-being in two cross-sectional studies (Study 1: N = 5521), while also taking informant-reports into account and utilizing different questionnaires to control for a possible method bias (Study 2: N = 172). Participants completed validated assessments of character strengths and the PERMA dimensions (self-reports in Study 1, self- and informant-reports in Study 2). Results showed that in self-reports, all strengths were positively related to all PERMA dimensions, but there were differences in the size of the relationships. Accomplishment, for example, showed the strongest associations with strengths such as perspective, persistence, and zest, whereas for positive relationships, strengths such as teamwork, love, and kindness were the best predictors. These findings were largely confirmed by informant-reports in Study 2. The findings provide further support for the notion that character contributes to well-being and they could guide the development of strengths-based interventions tailored to individual needs.

Keywords

Character strengths PERMA Flourishing Well-being Orientations to happiness 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study has been supported by research grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF; grants 100014_132512 and 100014_149772 awarded to RP and WR, and 100014_172723 awarded to WR). The authors thank Sara Wellenzohn and Sarah Frankenthal for their help with data collection and Mara Stewart for proofreading.

Supplementary material

11482_2018_9695_MOESM1_ESM.docx (54 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 53.6 kb)

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Copyright information

© The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa Wagner
    • 1
  • Fabian Gander
    • 1
  • René T. Proyer
    • 2
  • Willibald Ruch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyMartin-Luther University Halle-WittenbergHalleGermany

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