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Summary of Research Findings

This section refers to general character strengths research that does not better fit another category. Many of these studies constitute what researchers refer to as basic research.

Research Articles

  • This study provides evidence that self-rated character strengths correlate with public recognition and varied domains of excellence, supporting the use of character strengths as a framework for studying exemplary behavior and reinforcing the validity of self-assessment instruments for character strengths. The study found that the character strengths and well-being of individuals recognized for exemplary behavior in various domains (N = 204) differed meaningfully from matched comparison groups (N = 2,040), with exemplars scoring higher in strengths related to the virtues of courage, humanity, and justice (moral exemplars), the strengths of gratitude and spirituality (religious exemplars), creativity (creative exemplars), and humility (all exemplars) (Gander et al., 2023). Gander, F., Wagner, L., Vylobkova, V., Kretzschmar, A., & Ruch, W. (2023). Paragons of character—Character strengths and well-being of moral, creative, and religious exemplars. Journal of personality, 10.1111/jopy.12907.

  • This article assesses the landscape and trends in positive psychology research using bibliometrics and visual analysis, examining 4,378 papers published between 1999 and 2021 that reveal a steady increase in publications, with the United States and Harvard University being the most prolific contributors. Key journals and influential authors like Martin Seligman are identified and focal research areas, including systematic reviews, character strengths, positive psychology interventions, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are highlighted, offering guidance for future collaborations, hot topics, and research frontiers in the field of positive psychology (Wang, Guo, & Yang, 2023). Wang, F., Guo, J., & Yang, G. (2023). Study on positive psychology from 1999 to 2021: A bibliometric analysis. Frontiers in psychology, 14, 273. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1101157

  • This study aimed to determine if a collaborative, multimethod assessment protocol could enhance self-reported character strength interest, knowledge, and skills among 32 participants. Results indicated significant increases in strengths knowledge and perceived skills, particularly after a card sort task and reflective interview, suggesting that such personalized and collaborative assessment methods can substantially improve individuals' engagement with their character strengths (Klibert et al., 2023). Klibert, J., Simpson, M., Weiss, B., Yancey, C. T., Pritulsky, C., Luna, A., Houseman, H. & Samawi, H. (2023). Increasing character strength knowledge, interest, and skill: preliminary evidence for a collaborative and multimethod assessment procedure. Frontiers in Psychology, 14, 1179052. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1179052

  • This article introduces the Three-Dimensional Character Strengths Circumplex (3DSC) to address the issue of competing models in character strengths research, which is comparable to past challenges experienced in the realm of personality psychology. By analyzing self-reports and peer-reports from German-speaking adults, the article demonstrates that existing models are complementary, not conflicting, and the 3DSC can aid in creating a more complete and coherent classification of character strengths, moving beyond the limitations of current models (Stahlmann, Ruch, & Arbenz, 2023). Stahlmann, A. G., Ruch, W., & Arbenz, G. C. (2023). The three-dimensional character strengths circumplex.

  • This article aggregates the data on the construct validity of the VIA Survey (VIA Inventory of Strengths-Revised) and the Global Assessment of Character Strengths, two inventories providing dimensional measures of the character strengths. The findings generally support the construct validity of the instruments evaluated according to substantive validity, structural validity, and external validity, and the paper also offers recommendations for how the instruments can be used in research and applied settings (McGrath, 2023). McGrath, R. E. (2023). A summary of construct validity evidence for two measures of character strengths. Journal of Personality Assessment, 105(3), 302-313.

  • This article seeks to deepen the integration of character strengths into the canon of modern personality research by presenting four studies that address different problems and pose questions about character strengths using the psycho-lexical approach–one of the most influential personality paradigms. In doing so, it aims to validate and elevate the status of character strengths and positive psychology within the broader field of personality studies, while establishing a strong framework for enabling corresponding personality development (Stahlmann, 2023). Stahlmann, A. G. (2023). Language and character strengths: A psycho-lexical approach to resolving current issues in positive psychology (Doctoral dissertation, University of Zurich).

  • This article investigates the factor-analytic structure of the VIA classification framework, aiming to establish a consensus similar to established personality models like the Big Five. Through an analysis of two large samples from Germany and the UK, the research identifies three global dimensions – positivity, dependability, and mastery – that encapsulate over 50% of the variation in character strengths, potentially offering a more coherent framework for understanding and assessing these traits in the context of personality psychology (Partsch, Bluemke, & Lechner, 2022). Partsch, M. V., Bluemke, M., & Lechner, C. M. (2022). Revisiting the hierarchical structure of the 24 VIA character strengths: Three global dimensions may suffice to capture their essence. European Journal of Personality, 36(5), 825-845.

  • This chapter in the Handbook of positive psychology assessment discusses key questions to consider when assessing character strengths, particularly those related to the role of social desirability, the application of character strengths in different life domains, the “underuse” and “overuse” of character strengths, and the ipsative versus normative scoring of signature strengths. The chapter also reviews a range of instruments that have been used to assess character strengths across different age groups and contexts, including different variations of the VIA questionnaire (Wagner & Ruch, 2022). Wagner, L., & Ruch, W. (2022). Assessment of character strengths. In W. Ruch, A. B. Bakker, L. Tay, & F. Gander, Handbook of positive psychology assessment (pp. 179-213). Hogrefe.

  • This study provides evidence that character strengths can be described by a bifactor model that reflects the simultaneous existence of both a general factor of ‘good character’, and the 24 specific character strengths. Additionally, based on results that suggest specific character strengths, with a few exceptions, have no predictive power when a general factor is included in the analysis, the authors argue that “having a good character” matters more than cultivating specific character strengths. Feraco, T., Casali, N., Greiff, S., & Cona, G. (2022). Is good character all that counts? A comparison between the predictive role of specific strengths and a general factor of “good character” using a bifactor model. Journal of Happiness Studies, 24, 2353-2376.

  • The systematic review outlined in this article used bibliometric and visual analysis to assess trends in positive psychology by identifying and analyzing 4,378 publications related to the field that were released between 1999 and 2021. Findings indicate that positive psychology publications have grown significantly over the course of this period, with the sub-fields of character strengths and positive psychology interventions emerging as the foci of research and developmental trends in the field (Wang et al., 2023). Wang, F., Guo, J., & Yang, G. (2023). Study on positive psychology from 1999 to 2021: A bibliometric analysis. Frontiers in psychology, 14, 273.

  • A systematic review analyzed articles on strengths assessments in mental health services between 2010 and 2021. Results suggested the VIA Survey is the most widely studied strengths assessment, and highlighting a need for research and initiatives that improve the application of the VIA Survey within mental health services (Chen et al., 2022). Chen, Q. R., Young, D. K. W., Petrus Ng, Y. N., Cheng, D. Y. T., & Zhang, W. F. (2022). Strengths assessment in mental health services: A systematic review. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 19(6), 746-775.

  • This study used network analysis to examine how the character strengths assessed in the VIA Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) can be conceptualized as a complex and intricate network of mutually interconnected strengths. Among a large sample of individuals (N = 1,255,248) from the U.S, UK, Australia, and Canada, the network analysis revealed four different groups of strengths - Discernment, Interpersonal, Responsibility, and Energy - and also showed that Gratitude was the strength most connected to other strengths (Diez et al., 2022). Diez, G., Roca, P., Nieto, I., McGrath, R. E., & Vázquez, C. (2022). The network structure of the VIA-120 inventory of strengths: an analysis of 1,255,248 respondents. Journal of Positive Psychology, 1-14.

  • Through five meta-analyses with a total sample size of 1,098,748, this study investigated cross-sectional age differences in the 24 character strengths and found significant age differences across the lifespan for all character strengths, except perspective. 91% of the effects indicated that character strengths increase with age, and most age differences were found for creativity, curiosity, love of learning, zest, and self-regulation (Heintz & Ruch, 2022). Heintz, S., & Ruch, W. (2022). Cross-sectional age differences in 24 character strengths: Five meta-analyses from early adolescence to late adulthood. Journal of Positive Psychology, 17(3), 356-374.

  • This study used a qualitative thematic analysis method to systematically compare trait descriptions in the VIA Classification (Peterson & Seligman, 2004) and the NEO-PI-3, in an effort to examine the relationship between personality and character as two approaches to conceptualizing individual differences. Results suggest that although the two frameworks share substantial descriptions of traits—including moral traits—the NEO-PI-3 tends to emphasize traits related to emotions, tasks, and socializing, while the VIA Classification tends to emphasize self-management, prosocial, and worldview traits (Aluri & Li, 2022). Aluri, J. T., & Li, K. C. (2022). Personality and character: A comparative qualitative analysis of trait descriptions in NEO-PI-3 and character strengths and virtues. Journal of Happiness Studies, 23(6), 3055-3094.

  • This study used two methods to develop models for the VIA Inventory of Strengths-Revised and the Global Assessment of Character Strengths. While both methods achieved good fit, only Residual Network Modeling (RNM) resulted in adequate model fit for both measures in all cross-validation samples, suggesting that RNM may be more robust against overfitting than traditional practices (Han & McGrath, 2022). Han, H., & McGrath, R. E. (2022). Latent structural analysis for measures of character strengths: Achieving adequate fit. Current Psychology, 1-11.

  • Using six methodologies, this paper quantifies scholarly interest in the field of positive psychology and empirically maps the contours of the discipline, revealing that character strengths and virtues emerged as one of the six major positive psychological themes during the first decade of positive psychology’s initiation as a field. Results also indicate that during this period, the field as a whole experienced substantial growth, with the majority of scholars primarily focusing on the study of positive subjective experiences and positive personal traits – two of three pillars initially proposed by Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi in 2000 (Hart & Sasso, 2011). Hart, K. E., & Sasso, T. (2011). Mapping the contours of contemporary positive psychology. Canadian Psychology / Psychologie canadienne, 52(2), 82–92.

  • This study translated the VIA Inventory of Strengths into Greek and examined the translation in 3,211 adults. A five virtue model emerged and the scale showed good reliability and validity indicators. The highest strengths in this Greek sample were kindness, love, honesty, fairness, and perseverance, while the bottom five were love of learning, spirituality, perspective, humility, and self-regulation (Pezirkianidis et al., 2020).
    Pezirkianidis, C., Karakasidou, E., Stalikas, A., Moraitou, D., & Charalambous, V. (2020). Character strengths and virtues in the Greek cultural context. Psychology: The Journal of the Hellenic Psychological Society, 25(1), 35-54.

  • This article examines character strengths with John Dewey’s attitudes noted to be effective for reflection (i.e., open-minded, wholeheartedness, responsibility) for the purpose of assessing and supporting faculty reflection. Steps to integrate the VIA Survey and character strengths strategies for effective reflections are discussed (Greenberger & Or, 2021).
    Greenberger, S. W., & Or, J. (2021). Cultivating faculty readiness to reflect: Reconstructing Dewey’s attitudes for reflection as character strengths. Reflective Practice.

  • Reflects on the virtues within the VIA classification and discusses the substantial relevance of this contribution to the scientific study of virtues but also its practical implications for person-in-culture (McGrath, 2021).
    McGrath, R. E. (2021). The VIA virtue model: Half-baked or brilliant? Journal of Positive Psychology, 17(2), 250-256.

  • The 24 character strengths were examined along with tests of moral judgment (from a Neo-Kohlberg perspective using moral dilemmas) and moral identity. It was found that character strengths partially predicted moral functioning indicators (Han et al., 2022).
    Han, H., Dawson, K. J., Walker, D. I., Nguyen, N., & Choi, Y. J. (2022). Exploring the association between character strengths and moral functioning. Ethics & Behavior.

  • This study interviewed 249 psychologists about the basic properties of character strengths, including conceptual breadth (broad vs. narrow), polarity (unipolar vs. bipolar), and emergence (tonic vs. phasic). A considerable variety of observations emerged across the properties examined (Arbenz, Gander, & Ruch, 2022).
    Arbenz, G. C., Gander, F., & Ruch, W. (2022). Breadth, polarity, and emergence of character strengths and their relevance for assessment. Journal of Positive Psychology.

  • Highlights the importance of the VIA character strengths – the VIA Classification of character strengths and the VIA Inventory of Strengths – for the field of positive psychology. A large body of research has emerged since the original Character Strengths and Virtues (Peterson & Seligman, 2004) text was published. Hence, the editors believed a special issue dedicated to character strengths in the journal, Frontiers in Psychology, was warranted. They briefly comment on each of the articles in the special issue and point out important future directions for the science of character strengths. These include: 1.) further examination into the character strengths criteria; 2.) establishing additional, robust, causal links between character strengths and various outcomes (i.e., intervention studies); 3.) exploring antecedents to character strengths and social/community outcomes of character strengths; 4.) examining long-term and short-terms changes in character strengths through multi-level lenses of within-person and between-person factors; and 5.) further study on the use of character strengths at times of adversity, crisis, trauma, and hardship (Littman-Ovadia, Dubreuil, Meyers, & Freidlin, 2021).
    Littman-Ovadia, H., Dubreuil, P., Meyers, M. C., & Freidlin, P. (2021). Editorial: VIA character strengths: Theory, research and practice. Frontiers in Psychology.

  • Examined a variety of VIA character strengths measures including the long form VIA Inventory of Strengths-Revised (VIA-IS-R) which offers several shorter measures of virtues and strengths embedded in it, the Global Assessment of Character Strengths, and the Signature Strengths Survey in a demographically stratified sample of 1,765 adults in the United States. The measures showed good reliability and convergence (McGrath et al., 2021).
    McGrath, R. E., Brown, M., Westrich, B., & Han, H. (2021). Representative sampling of the VIA assessment suite for adults. Journal of Personality Assessment. Online ahead of print.

  • This study examined whether character strengths are connected with indicators of national development and well-being (most research has focused on well-being on the individual level). Participants’ character strengths self-evaluations differed from their perceptions of the strengths valued by their country. In addition, bravery was the most valued strength across all countries and geographic regions, while humility was least valued. Humor was most related to happiness; more bravery, perseverance, and spirituality, and less prudence, kindness, fairness, and honesty were connected to GDP; honesty connected with less corruption; strengths were not consistently related to freedom (Pievsky & McGrath, 2021).
    Pievsky, M. A., McGrath, R. E. (2021). National valuing of character strengths and indicators of national development: A pilot study. Applied Research Quality Life.

  • A military study examining soldiers’ character strengths over time in the deployment cycle, found two types of change in character strengths – a resilient class (those with stable high levels) and a recovery class (persistent low levels) – where the best predictor of resilience of character strengths was better self-rated health at the baseline (Chopik et al., 2021).
    Chopik, W. J., Kelley, W. L., Vie, L. L., Lester, P. B., Bonett, D. G., Lucas, R. E., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2021). Individual and experiential predictors of character development across the deployment cycle. European Journal of Personality.

  • In a study of 1866 individuals in mainland China, evidence for a G-factor (general) of character strengths and S-factors (specific) were found. The G-factor of character strengths offered significant contributions to well-being (Li et al., 2021).
    Li, Y., Li, Y., Duan, W., Guan, Q., & Tao, Y. (2021). Testing the contribution of general factor of character strengths to well-being: An exploratory bifactor approach. Current Psychology.

  • Validation study of the VIA Survey (VIA-120) in Italian, finding good convergence of character strengths into the hypothesized virtues, positive relations with general mental health and negative relations with distress, and all character strengths as unidimensional (except love of learning) (Feraco, Casali, & Meneghtetti, 2021).
    Feraco, T., Casali, N., & Meneghtetti, C. (2021). Do strengths converge into virtues? An item-, virtue-, and scale-level analysis of the Italian values in action inventory of strengths-120. Journal of Personality Assessment.

  • Compared two versions of the VIA Survey (the original VIA-IS and the revised version, VIA-IS-R) among a German sample. Results showed both instruments are reliable and valid and findings with the instruments can be viewed as highly comparable (Vylobkova et al., in press).
    Vylobkova, V., Heintz, S., Gander, F., Wagner, L., & Ruch, W. (in press). Convergence and psychometric properties of character strengths measures: The VIA-IS and the VIA-IS-R.

  • Examined the comparability of the VIA Inventory of Strengths for adults and the VIA Inventory of Strengths for Youth and found that the instruments measure the character strengths differently so comparison is not always appropriate (Kretzschmar, Harzer, & Ruch, in press). An important caveat to note, however, is that this study did not use the revised VIA Youth Survey which changed/improved items on all 24 scales; that measure is available to researchers to study.
    Kretzschmar, A., Harzer, C., & Ruch, W. (in press). Character strengths in adults and adolescents: Their measurement and association with well-being.

  • Across four samples, character strengths were found to exist independent of cognitive ability (i.e., intelligence), with the exception of the strength love of learning which showed a small positive relationship in the samples (Kretzschmar et al., 2021).
    Kretzschmar, A., Wagner, L., Gander, F., Hofmann, J., Proyer, R., & Ruch, W. (2021). Character strengths and intelligence.

  • Explored the connection between character strengths and primal world beliefs. The primal belief that the world is a good place explained the most variance in most strengths such as hope, spirituality, zest, gratitude, curiosity, and leadership (Stahlmann & Ruch, 2021).
    Stahlmann, A. G., & Ruch, W. (2021). Primal world beliefs correlate strongly but differentially with character strengths.

  • Examines the central questions and initial answers in the state of the research on character strengths interventions. It examines the role of signature strengths, generic vs. personalized strength interventions, the impact on levels of strengths, and key areas to further explore (Ruch et al., 2020).
    Ruch, W., Niemiec, R. M., McGrath, R. E., Gander, F., & Proyer, R. T. (2020). Character strengths-based interventions: Open questions and ideas for future research. Journal of Positive Psychology. DOI:

  • Argues for advancing population-wide psychological maturity around building character strengths collectively, especially in response to the exponential growth of technology; offers a large number of specific future directions and studies to consider across areas of thriving (instrumentality, well-being, and collective good); surviving (resilience; modulating fight-or-flight responses); child-rearing; system dynamics; interpersonal dynamics; contextualizing character strengths; strengths-spotting; and development across the lifespan (both specific effects and non-linear effects) (Mayerson, 2020).
    Mayerson, N. H. (2020). The character strengths response: An urgent call to action. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI:

  • Explores how the VIA Classification of character strengths and virtues can advance the science of virtues. It reviews the three-dimensional model of cardinal virtues (moral, self-regulatory, and intellectual domains), dimensional vs. categorical characterization of virtue, evolution of adaptations underlying human capacity for using virtues, impact on both individual and communal levels, reciprocity among virtues, and practical wisdom (McGrath & Brown, 2020).
    McGrath, R. E., & Brown, M. (2020). Using the VIA classification to advance a psychological science of virtue. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI:

  • Provides evidence in comparative evolution noting cross-species adaptations for three fundamental virtues (the VIA 3-factor model by McGrath) relating to morality, self-regulation, and intellect (McGrath, 2020).
    McGrath, R. E. (2020). Darwin meets Aristotle: evolutionary evidence for three fundamental virtues. Journal of Positive Psychology. DOI:

  • Summarizes several character strengths findings, discusses the role of character strengths for optimal experiences, and summarizes the most recent studies in signature strengths (Rashid & Niemiec, 2020).
    Rashid T., & Niemiec R. M. (2020) Character strengths. In: Maggino F. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of quality of life and well-being research. Springer, Cham.

  • This study examined data from 1,241 individuals and found that 22 out of the 24 character strengths correlated with their assigned virtue, with the exceptions being hope correlating highest with courage and humor correlating highest with humanity. It also found that higher levels of reported “good character” occurred for those who either had one character strength in each virtue category or who had all the character strengths in at least one virtue category (Ruch, Heintz, & Wagner, 2020).
    Ruch, W., Heintz, S., & Wagner, L. (2020). Co-occurrence patterns of character strengths and measured core virtues in German-speaking adults. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI:

  • In a study evaluating the 24 character strengths and whether they are morally valued in a German sample, every strength was found to be positively morally valued even when there were no set consequences of the strength use. Some strengths were more morally valued than others with the top five being judgment, honesty, kindness, fairness, and hope (Stahlmann & Ruch, 2020).
    Stahlmann, A. G., & Ruch, W. (2020). Scrutinizing the criteria for character strengths: Laypersons assert that every strength is positively morally valued, even in the absence of tangible outcomes. Frontiers in Psychology.

  • This study found that behavioral examples of individuals’ highest character strengths in action was related to virtues as opposed to behavioral examples of lowest strengths or non-excellent examples; results converged strongly (not perfectly) with the VIA Classification’s current arrangement of character strengths and corresponding virtues (Giuliani, Ruch, & Gander, 2020).
    Giuliani, F., Ruch, W., & Gander, F. (2020). Does the excellent enactment of highest strengths reveal virtues? Frontiers in Psychology. DOI:

  • Examined the changes in U.S. Army soldiers who were deploying for the first time and found most soldiers had high levels of character strengths before and after deployment with very little change (described as “stable high”), while about 40% of soldiers had lower character strengths before deployment and showed declines after deployment (described as “persistently low”) (Chopik et al., 2020).
    Chopik, W. J., Kelley, W. L., Vie, L. L., Oh, J., Bonett, D. G., Lucas, R. E., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2020). Development of character strengths across the deployment cycle among U.S. Army soldiers. Journal of Personality. Advance online publication.

  • Analyzes the disconnection and connection between virtue and good character and moral persons as well as the misalignment between academia and laypersons views of virtue (Gulliford, Morgan, & Jordan, 2020).
    Gulliford, L., Morgan, B., & Jordan, K. (2020). A prototype analysis of virtue. Journal of Positive Psychology. Advance online publication.

  • A study using phenomenological analysis on the use of strengths cards during coaching conversations revealed several key themes including identifying strengths is instinctive, complex, multifaceted, and a positive experience. The findings may provide coaches with insights about how strengths identification tools and interventions are experienced subjectively (Fouracres & van Nieuwerburgh, 2020).
    Fouracres, A. and van Nieuwerburgh, C. (2020). The lived experience of self-identifying character strengths through coaching: An interpretative phenomenological analysis, International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 18(1), 43-56. DOI:

  • Narrative review examining the 12 criteria of “character strengths” originally proposed by Peterson and Seligman (2004) in the VIA Classification, and the status of research on those criteria (Ruch & Stahlmann, 2019).
    Ruch, W., & Stahlmann, A. G. (2019). 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 M. Brohm-Badry, C. Peifer, J. M. Greve, & B. Berend (Eds.), Zusammen wachsen – Förderung der positiv-psychologischen Entwicklung von Individuen, Organisationen und Gesellschaft (pp. 142-172). Pabst Science Publishers.

  • Discusses key factors of virtues-based leadership development and emphasizes the relationship between virtues, character, and leadership; how virtue/leadership is teachable; and how virtue is the key connector between the individual and the common good (Newstead et al., 2019).
    Newstead, T., Dawkins, S., Macklin, R., & Martin, A. (2019). We don't need more leaders – we need more good leaders. Advancing a virtues-based approach to leader(ship) development. The Leadership Quarterly. Advance online publication.

  • This study used two samples to examine the internal consistency, factor structure, test-retest reliability, criterion-related validity, convergent and discriminant validity, and item discrimination statistics for the revised VIA Survey (VIA Inventory of Strengths) for adults, which includes short forms, virtues scales, and options for reverse-scored items. The results showed the VIA measures met appropriate psychometric standards (McGrath & Wallace, 2019).
    McGrath, R. E., & Wallace, N. (2019). Cross-validation of the VIA inventory of strengths-revised and its short forms. Journal of Personality Assessment. Advance online publication.

  • Examined the nesting of the 24 character strengths under the 6 particular virtues of the VIA Classification. Participants described situations of using their strength in an excellent matter and rated them by virtue; a second study had participants judge the goodness of fit between each strength and the virtue’s definition/function. Similar to previous findings, the results mostly converged with the current VIA Classification; the exceptions were humor, forgiveness, and gratitude which aligned better with the virtue of humanity than their original assigned virtue (Ruch et al., 2019).
    Ruch, W., Gander, F., Wagner, L., & Giuliani, F. (2019). The structure of character: On the relationships between character strengths and virtues. Journal of Positive Psychology. DOI:

  • Investigated the philosophical and religious notion of a “virtuous person” (someone who has attained a virtuous state) in a stratified sample of 10,000 adults. In reviewing a previous study and conducting a new one (two different methodologies), there was little evidence to support this concept, rather the results support thinking of virtue as something that is continuously pursued (not necessarily a state to be achieved) (Berger & McGrath, 2019).
    Berger, D. M., & McGrath, R. E. (2019). Are there virtuous types? Finite mixture modeling of the VIA Inventory of Strengths. Journal of Positive Psychology, 14(1), 77-85. DOI:

  • This study examines the new VIA Assessment suite, including long and short forms that measure character strengths and virtues. It shares internal consistency, test-retest reliability, criterion-related validity, and convergent and discriminant validity of scale scores. The inventory scale scores meet psychometric standards for a measure of the targeted character strengths and virtues (McGrath & Wallace, 2019).
    McGrath, R. E., & Wallace, N. (2019). Cross-validation of the VIA inventory of strengths-revised and its short forms. Manuscript submitted for publication.

  • This review examines, analyzes, critiques, and advances the scientific inquiry around the 12 criteria that informed Peterson, Seligman, and numerous scientists as to what constitutes a strength of character. In addition, it reviews research on this since 2004 and identifies important gaps (Ruch & Stahlmann, 2019).
    Ruch, W., & Stahlmann, A. G. (2019). 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 M. Brohm-Badry, C. Peifer, J. M. M. Brohm-Badry, C. Peifer, J. M. Greve, & B. Berend (Eds.), Zusammen wachsen – Förderung der positiv-psychologischen Entwicklung von Individuen, Organisationen und Gesellschaft. Lengerich, Germany: Pabst.

  • The first study to investigate Twitter responses and character strengths patterns. Examining over 3.9 million tweets from 4,423 people who had taken the VIA Survey and finding that Twitter characterizes and predicts character strengths (Pang et al., 2019).
    Pang, D., Eichstaedt, J. C., Buffone, A., Slaff, B., Ruch, W., & Ungar, L. H. (2019). The language of character strengths: Predicting morally valued traits on social media. Journal of Personality.

  • Content analysis of the transcendence character strengths within the examination of 4,000 Facebook posts in response to Mark Zuckerberg pledge to give away 99% of his Facebook shares to charity. Appreciation of beauty (moral beauty) was the most prevalent strength and correlated with hope, other-oriented hope, and spirituality (Zhao & Dale, 2019).
    Zhao, D., & Dale, K. R. (2019). Pro-social messages and transcendence: A content analysis of Facebook reactions to Mark Zuckerberg's donation pledge. Computers in Human Behavior, 91, 236-243.

  • Examined the shorter German translation of the VIA Survey (the VIA 120) and compared it to the original long form German translation (the VIA 240). The VIA 120 showed good convergence with the VIA 240, was reliable, showing a similar level of validity for assessing character strengths (Höfer et al., 2019).
    Höfer, S., Hausler, M., Huber, A., Strecker, C., Renn, D., & Höge, T. (2019). Psychometric characteristics of the German Values in Action Inventory of Strengths 120-Item Short Form. Applied Research in Quality of Life.

  • Interviewed 10 people over the age of 50 about their strengths during key developmental periods in their childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Found that strengths (generically-speaking, not character strengths per se) fluctuated throughout the lifespan and that a number of individual and environmental factors affected this (Owens et al., 2018). Pointed to the importance of working on both strong and less prominent or “lost” strengths, engaging in strengths-based relational interventions, strengths mentoring, and identifying/sharing strengths with supports/friends (for examples of these interventions, see Niemiec, 2018).
    1. Owens, R. L., Baugh, L. M., Barrett-Wallis, R., Hui, N., & McDaniel, M. M. (2018). Strengths across the lifespan: A qualitative analysis of developmental trajectories and influential factors. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 4(3), 265-276.
    2. Niemiec, R. M. (2018). Character strengths interventions: A field-guide for practitioners. Boston: Hogrefe.

  • Analysis of character strengths in the Brazilian context of nearly 1,000 undergraduate students and finding a three-factor solution to be most theoretically appropriate – intellectual strengths, intrapersonal strengths and collectivism, and transcendence (Noronha & Zanon, 2018).
    Noronha, A. P. P., & Zanon, C. (2018). Strengths of character of personal growth: Structure and relations with the Big Five in the Brazilian context. Paidéia, 28, Article ID e2822.

  • Study examined character strengths in Poland, conducting a factor analysis, and delineating profiles using a person-centered approach (Najderska & Cieciuch, 2018). Note: this study did not use the validated Polish VIA Survey. For the official Polish version and to use it in research, find it on the VIA website, translated by teams in Poland led by Lucasz Kaczmarek.
    Najderska, M., & Cieciuch, J. (2018). The structure of character strengths: Variable- and person-centered approaches. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, Article ID 153.

  • Applies social theory to character and virtues, emphasizing their formation and sustenance within a social context, and arguing that while these are “traits” they are represented socially and practiced socially (Moulin-Stożek, 2018).
    Moulin‐Stożek, D. (2018). The social construction of character. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. Advance online publication.

  • Military study finding several of the 24 character strengths were affected by military college education (nearly half of the strengths), and several remained stable (Giambra, 2018).
    Giambra, L. M. (2018). Character strengths: Stability and change from a military college education. Military Psychology, 30(6), 598-608.

Updated December 2023