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Positive Psychopathology and Positive Functioning: OCD, Flourishing and Satisfaction with Life through the Lens of Character Strength Underuse, Overuse and Optimal Use

  • Hadassah Littman-OvadiaEmail author
  • Pavel Freidlin
Article
  • 32 Downloads

Abstract

Theoretical propositions suggesting that character strengths (CSs) may have darker sides have triggered a new wave of studies, providing novel insight into the role that misuse of CSs play in psychopathology. Pioneering research in the field has addressed the challenge of constructing an instrument for measuring over/under/optimal use of CSs, and explaining the role of specific strengths’ underuse or overuse in social anxiety disorder. The present study sought to continue this line of research by examining the role of specific strengths’ underuse-overuse in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). An international sample of 970 adults completed online questionnaires derived from a CSs website. We first replicated findings that general CSs’ underuse and overuse were associated with negative outcomes, while optimal use was related to positive outcomes. Second, we found obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) to be associated with the overuse of social intelligence, judgment, appreciation of beauty and excellence, fairness, perseverance, and prudence, as well as with underuse of forgiveness, self-regulation, curiosity, and creativity. Using simultaneous regression, the noted misuse of strengths, not including the overuse of perseverance and the underuse of curiosity and creativity, accounted for almost a quarter of the variance in OCS. Using discriminant analysis, the combination of the overuse of social intelligence, judgment, appreciation of beauty and excellence, fairness, and prudence, as well as the underuse of forgiveness and self-regulation, successfully re-sorted 89.3% of the participants into those that do and do not have clinical levels of OCD. These findings provide support to the role of strengths misuse in psychopathology.

Keywords

Character strengths Strengths use Strengths underuse Strengths overuse Strengths optimal use OCS OCD Strength deviation 

Notes

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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavioral Sciences and PsychologyAriel UniversityArielIsrael

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