Advertisement

Character strengths and psychological vulnerability: The mediating role of resilience

  • İbrahim DemirciEmail author
  • Halil Ekşi
  • Füsun Ekşi
  • Çınar Kaya
Article
  • 58 Downloads

Abstract

The present study examined the relationships between character strengths and psychological resilience and psychological vulnerability. The sample consisted of 381 high school students (164 males and 217 females) ranging in age from 14 to 18 years (Mean = 15.63, SD = 1.12). Character Growth Index, the Brief Resilience Scale and Psychological Vulnerability Scale were used as measures to collect the data. Structural Equation Modeling and bootstrapping methods were used to examine the mediating role of psychological resilience in relationships between character strengths and psychological vulnerability. In the structural model, certain character strengths i.e. wisdom, courage, optimism, and, calmness were found to increase psychological resilience, and psychological resilience decreased psychological vulnerability. Also, psychological resilience fully mediated the relationship between the character strengths of wisdom, courage, optimism, and calmness and psychological vulnerability. The results of the bootstrapping analysis showed that the indirect effects of the character strengths of wisdom, courage, optimism, and calmness on psychological vulnerability were significant. Based on these results, we conclude that high levels of wisdom, courage, optimism and calmness accompanied by psychological resilience may lead to decreased psychological vulnerability. The theoretical and practical implications for researchers and practitioners and limitations are discussed.

Keywords

Character strengths Psychological vulnerability Resilience Adolescents 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Declaration of Conflicting Interests

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Ethical Statement

The authors declare that all the procedures of the study were conducted in compliance with the Helsinki Declaration. Voluntary participation, anonymity and informed consent were ensured for all participants and there was no experimental manipulation involved in the study.

References

  1. Akın, A., & Eker, H. (2011). Turkish version of the psychological vulnerability scale: A study of validity and reliability. Paper presented at the 32th International Conference of the Stress and Anxiety Research Society (STAR), Münster, Germany.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing.Google Scholar
  3. Bentler, P. M. (1980). Multivariate analysis with latent variables: Causal modeling. Annual Review of Psychology, 31, 419–456.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ps.31.020180.002223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bentler, P. M., & Bonett, D. G. (1980). Significance tests and goodness of fit in the analysis of covariance structures. Psychological Bulletin, 88, 588–606.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.88.3.588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bonanno, G. A. (2012). Uses and abuses of the resilience construct: Loss, trauma, and health related adversities. Social Science & Medicine, 74, 753–756.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.11.022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bonanno, G. A., Romero, S. A., & Klein, S. I. (2015). The temporal elements of psychological resilience: An integrative framework for the study of individuals, families, and communities. Psychological Inquiry, 26(2), 139–169.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1047840X.2015.992677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, M., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. A. Bollen & J. S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 136–162). Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  8. Brownlee, K., Rawana, J., Franks, J., Harper, J., Bajwa, J., O’Brien, E., & Clarkson, A. (2013). A systematic review of strengths and resilience outcome literature relevant to children and adolescents. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 30(5), 435–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brunzell, T., Stokes, H., & Waters, L. (2016). Trauma-informed positive education: Using positive psychology to strengthen vulnerable students. Contemporary School Psychology, 20(1), 63–83.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-015-0070-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Byrne, B. M., & Campbell, T. L. (1999). Cross-cultural comparisons and the presumption of equivalent measurement and theoretical structure: A look beneath the surface. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 30, 555–574.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022199030005001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carr, A. (2011). Positive psychology: The science of happiness and human strengths. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Connor, K. M., & Davidson, J. R. (2003). Development of a new resilience scale: The Connor-Davidson resilience scale (CD-RISC). Depression and Anxiety, 18(2), 76–82.  https://doi.org/10.1002/da.10113.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Doğan, T. (2015). Kısa Psikolojik Sağlamlık Ölçeği’nin Türkçe uyarlaması: Geçerlik ve güvenirlik çalışması [Adaptation of the Brief Resilience Scale into Turkish: A validity and reliability study]. The Journal of Happiness & Well-Being, 3(1), 93–102.Google Scholar
  14. 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.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Ekşi, H., Demirci, İ., Kaya, Ç., & Ekşi, F. (2017). Karakter Gelişim İndeksi’nin Türk ergenlerdeki psikometrik özellikleri [the psychometric properties of character growth index in Turkish adolescents]. Ege Eğitim Dergisi, 18(2), 476–500.  https://doi.org/10.12984/egeefd.284832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Freidlin, P., Littman-Ovadia, H., & Niemiec, R. M. (2017). Positive psychopathology: Social anxiety via character strengths underuse and overuse. Personality and Individual Differences, 108, 50–54.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.12.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gander, F., Proyer, R. T., Ruch, W., & Wyss, T. (2013). Strength-based positive interventions: Further evidence for their potential in enhancing well-being and alleviating depression. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(4), 1241–1259.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-012-9380-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ghielen, S. T. S., van Woerkom, M., & Meyers, M. C. (2018). Promoting positive outcomes through strengths interventions: A literature review. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 13, 573–585.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2017.1365164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gillham, J., Adams-Deutsch, Z., Werner, J., Reivich, K., Coulter-Heindl, V., Linkins, M., ... & Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Character strengths predict subjective well-being during adolescence. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(1), 31–44.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2010.536773.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gordon, K. C., Burton, S., & Porter, L. (2004). Predicting the intentions of women in domestic violence shelters to return to partners: Does forgiveness play a role? Journal of Family Psychology, 18(2), 331–338.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-3200.18.2.331.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Haddadi, P., & Besharat, M. A. (2010). Resilience, vulnerability and mental health. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 5, 639–642.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.07.157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Havighurst, R. J. (1948). Developmental tasks and education. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  23. Huta, V., & Hawley, L. (2010). Psychological strengths and cognitive vulnerabilities: Are they two ends of the same continuum or do they have independent relationships with well-being and ill-being? Journal of Happiness Studies, 11(1), 71–93.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-008-9123-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hutchinson, A., Stuart, A., & Pretorius, H. (2010). Biological contributions to well-being: The relationships amongst temperament, character strengths and resilience. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 36(2), 1–10.  https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v36i2.844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hutchinson, A. M. K., Stuart, A. D., & Pretorius, H. G. (2011). The relationships between temperament, character strengths, and resilience. In I. Brdar (Ed.), The human pursuit of well-being (pp. 133–144). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ingram, R. E. (2003). Origins of cognitive vulnerability to depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 27, 77–88.  https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022590730752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kline, R. B. (2015). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. New York: Guilford publications.Google Scholar
  28. Leontopoulou, S., & Triliva, S. (2012). Explorations of subjective wellbeing and character strengths among a Greek University student sample. International Journal of Wellbeing, 2(3), 251–270.  https://doi.org/10.5502/ijw.v2.i3.6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lerner, J. V., Phelps, E., Forman, Y., & Bowers, E. P. (2009). Positive youth development. In R. M. Lerner & L. Steinberg (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psychology: Vol. 1. Individual bases of adolescent development (3rd ed., pp. 524–585). Hoboken: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 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.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. Lickona, T. (2009). Educating for character: How our schools can teach respect and responsibility. New York: Bantam.Google Scholar
  32. Liston, M. (2014). Conceptualizing and validating the Character Virtues Index (CVI). (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database (AAT 3633828).Google Scholar
  33. Luthar, S. S., Lyman, E. L., & Crossman, E. J. (2014). Resilience and positive psychology. In M. Lewis & K. D. Rudolph (Eds.), Handbook of developmental psychopathology (pp. 125–140). Boston: Springer.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-9608-3_7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Luxton, D. D., Ingram, R. E., & Wenzlaff, R. M. (2006). Uncertain self-esteem, future thinking, and depression vulnerability. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 25(8), 840–854.  https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2006.25.8.840.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Martínez-Martí, M. L., & Ruch, W. (2014). Character strengths and well-being across the life span: Data from a representative sample of German-speaking adults living in Switzerland. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(1253), 1–10.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Martinez-Marti, M. L., & Ruch, W. (2017). Character strengths predict resilience over and above positive affect, self-efficacy, optimism, social support, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. Journal of Positive Psychology, 12(2), 110–119.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2016.1163403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56(3), 227–238.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.56.3.227.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Masten, A. S. (2013). Risk and resilience in development. In P. D. Zelazo (Ed.), Oxford handbook of developmental psychology (pp. 579–607). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Masten, A. S., Best, K. M., & Garmezy, N. (1990). Resilience and development: Contributions from the study of children who overcome adversity. Development and Psychopathology, 2(4), 425–444.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579400005812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McCullough, M. E., & Snyder, C. R. (2000). Classical sources of human strength: Revisiting an old home and building a new one. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 19(1), 1–10.  https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2000.19.1.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mechanic, D., & Tanner, J. L. (2007). Vulnerable people, groups, and populations. Health Affairs, 26(5), 1220–1230.  https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.26.5.1220.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Meredith, L. S., Sherbourne, C. D., Gaillot, S. J., Hansell, L., Ritschard, H. V., Parker, A. M., & Wrenn, G. (2011). Promoting psychological resilience in the US military. Santa Monica: Rand Corporation.Google Scholar
  43. Niemiec, R. M. (2013). VIA character strengths: Research and practice (the first 10 years). In H.H. Knoop, & A. D Fave (Eds.), Well-being and cultures (pp. 11–29). Springer, Dordrecht.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Niemiec, R. M. (2019). Six functions of character strengths for thriving at times of adversity and opportunity: A theoretical perspective. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 1–22. Applied Research in Quality of Life.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-018-9692-2.
  45. Nogueira, M. J., Barros, L., & Sequeira, C. (2017). Psychometric properties of the psychological vulnerability scale in higher education students. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 23(3), 215–222.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1078390317695261.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 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, 891–905.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2006.04.011.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2009). Character strengths: Research and practice. Journal of College and Character, 10(4).  https://doi.org/10.2202/1940-1639.1042.
  49. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Peterson, C., & Park, N. (2004). Classification and measurement of character strengths: Implications for practice. In P. A. Linley & S. Joseph (Eds.), Positive psychology in practice (pp. 433–446). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  51. Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues a handbook and classification. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Peterson, C., Park, N., Pole, N., D'Andrea, W., & Seligman, M. E. (2008). Strengths of character and posttraumatic growth. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 21(2), 214–217.  https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.20332.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior research methods, 40(3), 879–891.  https://doi.org/10.3758/BRM.40.3.879 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Proctor, C., Tsukayama, E., Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Eades, J. F., & Linley, P. A. (2011). Strengths gym: The impact of a character strengths-based intervention on the life satisfaction and well-being of adolescents. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(5), 377–388.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2011.594079.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ruch, W., Weber, M., & Park, N. (2014). Character strengths in children and adolescents. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 30, 57–64.  https://doi.org/10.1027/1015-5759/a000169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Satıcı, S. A. (2016). Psychological vulnerability, resilience, and subjective well-being: The mediating role of hope. Personality and Individual Differences, 102, 68–73.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.06.057.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Satici, S. A., & Uysal, R. (2017). Psychological vulnerability and subjective happiness: The mediating role of hopelessness. Stress and Health, 33(2), 111–118.  https://doi.org/10.1002/smi.2685.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Schermelleh-Engel, K., & Moosbrugger, H. (2003). Evaluating the fit of structural equation models: Tests of significance and descriptive goodness-of-fit measures. Methods of Psychological Research Online, 8(2), 23–74.Google Scholar
  59. Sherman, D. K., Bunyan, D. P., Creswell, J. D., & Jaremka, L. M. (2009). Psychological vulnerability and stress: The effects of self-affirmation on sympathetic nervous system responses to naturalistic stressors. Health Psychology, 28(5), 554–562.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0014663.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Shoshani, A., & Slone, M. (2016). The resilience function of character strengths in the face of war and protracted conflict. Frontiers in Psychology, 6.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.02006.
  61. Sinclair, V. G., & Wallston, K. A. (1999). The development and validation of the psychological vulnerability scale. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 23(2), 119–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Smith, B. W., Dalen, J., Wiggins, K., Tooley, E., Christopher, P., & Bernard, J. (2008). The brief resilience scale: Assessing the ability to bounce back. International Journal of Behavioural Medicine, 15, 194–200.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10705500802222972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Snyder, C. R., & Lopez, S. J. (Eds.). (2015). Oxford handbook of positive psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Tehranchi, A., Doost, H. T. N., Amiri, S., & Power, M. J. (2018). The role of character strengths in depression: A structural equation model. Frontiers in Psychology, 9.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01609.
  65. Tugade, M. M., Fredrickson, B. L., & Feldman Barrett, L. (2004). Psychological resilience and positive emotional granularity: Examining the benefits of positive emotions on coping and health. Journal of Personality, 72(6), 1161–1190.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2004.00294.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  66. Wang, C. E. (2006). Depression and cognitive vulnerability. Doctoral thesis, University of Tromsø.Google Scholar
  67. Wright, M. O., Masten, A. S., & Narayan, A. J. (2013). Resilience processes in development: Four waves of research on positive adaptation in the context of adversity. In S. Goldstein & R. B. Brooks (Eds.), Handbook of Resilience in Children (2nd ed., pp. 15–37). New York: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zeng, G., Hou, H., & Peng, K. (2016). Effect of growth mindset on school engagement and psychological well-being of Chinese primary and middle school students: The mediating role of resilience. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1873.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01873.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education, Department of Psychological Counseling and GuidanceSinop UniversitySinopTurkey
  2. 2.Faculty of Education, Department of Psychological Counseling and GuidanceMarmara UniversityİstanbulTurkey
  3. 3.Faculty of Education, Department of Psychological Counseling and Guidanceİstanbul Medeniyet UniversityİstanbulTurkey
  4. 4.Faculty of Education, Psychological Counseling and GuidanceBartın UniversityBartınTurkey

Personalised recommendations