Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

15 years after Peterson and Seligman (2004): A brief narrative review of the research on the 12 criteria for character strengths – the forgotten treasure of the VIA classification


Ruch, Willibald; Stahlmann, Alexander G (2020). 15 years after Peterson and Seligman (2004): A brief narrative review of the research on the 12 criteria for character strengths – the forgotten treasure of the VIA classification. In: Brohm-Badry, Michaela; Peifer, Corinna; Greve, Julian M; Berend, Benjamin. Zusammen wachsen – Förderung der positiv-psychologischen Entwicklung von Individuum, Organisation und Gesellschaft. Lengerich: Pabst, 142-172.

Abstract

Due to Allport’s (1927) claim that character is merely personality evaluated (and perso- nality is character devalued) and personality alone will do, “character” had largely been neglected when exploring individual differences. This however changed with the emergence of positive psychology, which brought a renaissance of the concept of char- acter on personality psychology. Early in the search for the roots of a good life, character was rediscovered as key to investigating and fostering subjective, objective and societal fulfillment. In 2004, these considerations were recognized in the VIA classification, which introduced 24 character strengths and six virtues. The fundament of the classification are criteria that define character strengths by means of decisive and verifiable benchmarks. In this narrative review, we delineate the progression of the list of criteria for character strengths (from seven to 12). Furthermore, we discuss the extent to which the literature shows that the 24 strengths indeed satisfy these criteria. It is evident that many studies were published, for example, to demonstrate that character strengths predict various in- dicators of well-being. However, there is surprisingly little research into this very foun- dation of the classification, for example, whether all character strengths are inherently morally valued and whether character strengths could be selectively missing in a person altogether. We argue that more research should be directed at the study of these criteria as they form the backbone of what character strengths are and may be considered the nucleus of an emerging theory of character.

Abstract

Due to Allport’s (1927) claim that character is merely personality evaluated (and perso- nality is character devalued) and personality alone will do, “character” had largely been neglected when exploring individual differences. This however changed with the emergence of positive psychology, which brought a renaissance of the concept of char- acter on personality psychology. Early in the search for the roots of a good life, character was rediscovered as key to investigating and fostering subjective, objective and societal fulfillment. In 2004, these considerations were recognized in the VIA classification, which introduced 24 character strengths and six virtues. The fundament of the classification are criteria that define character strengths by means of decisive and verifiable benchmarks. In this narrative review, we delineate the progression of the list of criteria for character strengths (from seven to 12). Furthermore, we discuss the extent to which the literature shows that the 24 strengths indeed satisfy these criteria. It is evident that many studies were published, for example, to demonstrate that character strengths predict various in- dicators of well-being. However, there is surprisingly little research into this very foun- dation of the classification, for example, whether all character strengths are inherently morally valued and whether character strengths could be selectively missing in a person altogether. We argue that more research should be directed at the study of these criteria as they form the backbone of what character strengths are and may be considered the nucleus of an emerging theory of character.

Statistics

Downloads

2 downloads since deposited on 27 Aug 2020
2 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not_refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2020
Deposited On:27 Aug 2020 13:10
Last Modified:27 Aug 2020 13:17
Publisher:Pabst
OA Status:Closed

Download

Closed Access: Download allowed only for UZH members