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Research Articles

  • In a study of 177 married couples, women’s character strengths of caring, inquisitiveness, and self-control were related to men’s marital quality, while men’s inquisitiveness and self-control were related to women’s marital quality (Boiman-Meshita & Littman-Ovadia, 2022).
    Boiman-Meshita, M., & Littman-Ovadia, H. (2022). Is it me or you? An actor-partner examination of the relationship between partners’ character strengths and marital quality. Journal of Happiness Studies, 23, 195–210.
  • Two couples studies reported in this article. The first found similarity between couples’ profiles of character strengths, namely the relative expressions (rank-order) and average expressions (normative profiles). The findings offer preliminary evidence for members of each couple having similar traits as attracting one another. The second study found that couples with similar traits do not report greater satisfaction than couples with less similar traits. The traits most frequently similar among partners were gratitude, hope, and spirituality (Brauer et al., in press).
    Brauer, K., Sendatzki, R., Gander, F., Ruch, W. & Proyer, R.T. (in press). Profile similarities among romantic partners’ character strengths and their associations with relationship- and life satisfaction. Journal of Research in Personality.
  • A study of 177 married couples found that the three character strengths factors of inquisitiveness, caring, and self-control were related to marital quality for both members of the couple. In addition, all three factors for women were associated with men’s marital quality, while men’s inquisitiveness and self-control were associated with women’s marital quality (Boiman-Meshita & Littman-Ovadia, 2021).
    Boiman‑Meshita, M., & Littman‑Ovadia, H. (2021). Is it me or you? An actor‑partner examination of the relationship between partners’ character strengths and marital quality. Journal of Happiness Studies.
  • Different character strengths profiles emerged for each of the domains of life people spend their time in, namely work, education, leisure, personal relationships, and romantic relationships. Strengths-related behavior in the different domains of life was strongly connected to flourishing (Wagner, Pindeus, & Ruch, 2021).
    Wagner, L., Pindeus, L., & Ruch, W. (2021). Character strengths in the life domains of work, education, leisure, and relationships, and their associations with flourishing. Frontiers in Psychology.
  • In a longitudinal study of paired learning (dyads), the integration of character strengths was an important contribution to positive benefits for both members of the dyad, to personal satisfaction, and to learning. This is placed in the positive relationships section due to the emphasis on the relational dyad and that simply “being together” contributed to learning satisfaction over time (Littman-Ovadia & Freidlin, 2021).
    Littman-Ovadia, H., & Freidlin, P. (2021). Paired learning duration and character strengths use as predictors of learning satisfaction: A dyadic longitudinal study among Chevruta students in Yeshivas. Journal of Higher Education.
  • Found that higher levels of virtues (caring, self-control, and inquisitiveness) were desirable for long-term mating, with the most substantial preference for the virtue of self-control (Brown et al., 2020).
    Brown, M., Westrich, B., Bates, F., Twibell, A., & McGrath, R. E. (2020). Preliminary evidence for virtue as a cue to long-term mate value. Personality and Individual Differences
  • Three studies examined the perceived character strengths of one’s relationship partner. Higher recognition and appreciation of one’s partner’s character strengths predicted greater relationship commitment, satisfaction, investment, intimacy, self-expansion, and support for goals, while recognizing significant costs of strengths was associated with negative outcomes. Interestingly, these findings were not explained by the Big Five personality traits, capitalization, or gratitude. This study introduces a new research assessment measure called the Partner Strengths Scale (Kashdan et al., 2017). It is available free to researchers on the VIA site.
    Kashdan, T.B., Blalock, D.V., Young, K.C., Machell, K.A., Monfort, S.S., McKnight, P.E., & Ferssizidis, P. (2017). Personality strengths in romantic relationships: Measuring perceptions of benefits and costs and their impact on personal and relational well-being. Psychological Assessment.
  • Reviewed 66 studies relating to empirical literature on strengths among same-sex couple relationships and organized the findings into 3 relationship processes (respect and appreciation of individual differences, positive emotions/interactions, effective communication/negotiation) and 4 positive relationship characteristics (perceived intimacy, commitment, egalitarian ideals, and “outness”) (Rostosky & Riggle, 2017). Rostosky, S. S., & Riggle, E. D. B. (2017). Same-sex couple relationship strengths: A review and synthesis of the empirical literature (2000–2016). Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, Np. DOI:
  • Random selection of married individuals examining their perception of their partners’ humility, compassion/kindness, and positivity and found significant positive associations with martial satisfaction for each, as well as spousal humility serving as a protector factor against stress for women (Goddard et al., 2016).
    Goddard, H. W., Olson, J. R., Galovan, A. M., Schramm, D. G., & Marshall, J. P. (2016). Qualities of character that predict marital well‐being. Family Relations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 65(3), 424-438.
  • Study of married people ranging in age and years of marriage that found all 24 character strengths as well as groupings of strengths (strengths of the heart, strengths of the mind, intrapersonal strengths, interpersonal strengths) were positively related to marital satisfaction (Guo, Wang, & Liu, 2015).
    Guo, J., Wang, Y., & Liu, X. Y. (2015). Relation between marital satisfaction and character strengths in young people. Chinese Mental Health Journal, 29(5), 383-388. 
  • Discusses the use of an intervention around identifying character strengths in couples and family therapy, as well as in the initial stages of individual therapy for trauma recovery (Smith & Barros-Gomes, 2015).
    Smith, E. N., & Barros-Gomes, P. (2015). Soliciting strengths systemically: The use of character strengths in couple and family therapy. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 26(1), 42-46.
  • Study of relationship functioning and communication among 422 married and cohabitating individuals. Argues that character strengths – enacted as marital virtues – will strengthen the marriage. Practical suggestions offered (Veldorale-Brogan, Bradford, & Vail, 2010). Veldorale-Brogan, A., Bradford, K., & Vail A. (2010). Marital virtues and their relationship to individual functioning, communication, and relationship adjustment. Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(4), 281-293.
  • Three studies which revealed findings that curious people expect closeness during intimate conversations whereas less curious people do not expect closeness; and only the curious people felt close to partners during both intimate and small-talk conversations (Kashdan et al., 2011). Kashdan, T.B., McKnight, P.E., Fincham, F.D., & Rose, P. (2011). When curiosity breeds intimacy: Taking advantage of intimacy opportunities and transforming boring conversations. Journal of Personality, 79, 1369-1401.

Updated August 2022