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Character strengths as predictors of the “good life” in Austria, Germany and Switzerland


Ruch, Willibald; Huber, A; Beermann, Ursula; Proyer, Rene T (2007). Character strengths as predictors of the “good life” in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. In: Romanian Academy; Social Research. Studies and Researches in Social Sciences. Romania: Argonaut Press, 123-131.

Abstract

Positive psychology has reclaimed character and virtue as legitimate topics of investigation for social science. Over the past several years a classification of character strengths has been put forward (Peterson & Seligman, 2004) which includes 24 widely recognized character strengths organized under six ubiquous virtues, namely wisdom and knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence. The construction of the Values in Action inventory of strengths (VIA-IS, Peterson & Seligman, 2004) allows testing an old insight from philosophy, namely that character is the inner determinant of the good life. Park, Peterson and Seligman (2004) provided first evidence that the “good character” is predictive of life satisfaction in American samples. In an attempt to replicate these findings outside the USA the VIA-IS and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS, Diener, Emmons, Larsen & Griffin, 1985) were administered via the Internet to 4419 research participants from Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Results show that overall similar strengths were predictive of life satisfaction in the three countries. Life satisfaction seemed to be higher in Switzerland than in Austria and Germany, but in all three countries degree of life satisfaction increased with degree of development of the good character (i.e., the total score of all strengths). There seems to be an indication for a slight quadratic trend as well saying that the relationship is steeper for individuals lower in overall virtuousness and flatter for those above the mean. While the current results do not imply causality, the study provides evidence that life satisfaction builds upon a well-cultivated character.

Positive psychology has reclaimed character and virtue as legitimate topics of investigation for social science. Over the past several years a classification of character strengths has been put forward (Peterson & Seligman, 2004) which includes 24 widely recognized character strengths organized under six ubiquous virtues, namely wisdom and knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence. The construction of the Values in Action inventory of strengths (VIA-IS, Peterson & Seligman, 2004) allows testing an old insight from philosophy, namely that character is the inner determinant of the good life. Park, Peterson and Seligman (2004) provided first evidence that the “good character” is predictive of life satisfaction in American samples. In an attempt to replicate these findings outside the USA the VIA-IS and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS, Diener, Emmons, Larsen & Griffin, 1985) were administered via the Internet to 4419 research participants from Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Results show that overall similar strengths were predictive of life satisfaction in the three countries. Life satisfaction seemed to be higher in Switzerland than in Austria and Germany, but in all three countries degree of life satisfaction increased with degree of development of the good character (i.e., the total score of all strengths). There seems to be an indication for a slight quadratic trend as well saying that the relationship is steeper for individuals lower in overall virtuousness and flatter for those above the mean. While the current results do not imply causality, the study provides evidence that life satisfaction builds upon a well-cultivated character.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2007
Deposited On:19 Mar 2009 15:40
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:27
Publisher:Argonaut Press
Series Name:Studii Şi Cercetari din domeniul ştiinţelor socio-umane
Number:16
ISBN:978-973-109-049-8
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:http://www.history-cluj.ro/SU/Ro/startSU_publicatii2002.htm
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-3648

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