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Chris Peterson’s unfinished masterwork: The real mental illnesses

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Abstract

The theory of strengths also implies a theory of disorder that proceeds from knowing what is right in a person: pathology is the opposite, or the absence, or the excess of the strengths. Chris Peterson left a table that details this theory. I discuss the relation of the pathologies so derived to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM) disorders and I speculate on its treatment implications. If fleshed out, I suggest it is a viable alternative to DSM.

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... Thus, mockery, ridicule, and sarcasm cannot be considered overuse of (morally good) humor (as understood in the classification) but should rather be considered the immoral or at least amoral misuse of humor skills. This notion is also in accordance with the further theoretical directions on the VIA classification put forward by Peterson (2006b) and Seligman (2015). Following the publication of the handbook, Peterson (2006b) envisioned the classification to evolve into a comprehensive taxonomy of mental health and mental disorders. ...
... Similar to the previous criterion, Peterson and Seligman (2004) as well as Park and Peterson (2007) stated that each character strength satisfies this requirement inherently. Considering Peterson (2006b) and Seligman's (2015) extension to the VIA classification, this also rules out positive antonyms of seemingly cognate characteristics, such as cynicism, intrusiveness, and prudishness. Although related, these phenomena could better be described as exaggerations of character strengths and should thus not be confused with the morally valued traits (Peterson, 2006b). ...
... Homeless people as well as people subject to autism spectrum disorder, and people subject to gelotophobia (i.e., the fear of being laughed at) consistently reported lower endorsement of various character strengths (Kirchner, Ruch, & Dziobek, 2016;Proyer & Ruch, 2009;Tweed, Biswas-Diener, & Lehman, 2012). In the framework of the extended VIA model proposed by Peterson (2006b) and Seligman (2015), it is plausible to expect mental illness and hardship to be associated with the absence of character strengths. However, in the case of the fear of being laughed at, Ruch (2009) and showed that gelotophobes' peer-ratings largely exceeded their self-reports, hence suggesting that they merely underestimate their own virtuousness. ...
Chapter
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Due to Allport's (1927) claim that character is merely personality evaluated (and personality 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 character 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 indicators of well-being. However, there is surprisingly little research into this very foundation 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.
... Therefore, the current study took TICS as a validated instrument for assessing character strengths. Duan and Wang (2018) used the TICS and conducted latent profile analysis (LPA) to determine the two character strength profiles (i.e., at-strength group vs. at-risk group) on the basis of Seligman (2015) framework. The results revealed that the at-strength group had better psychological wellbeing than at-risk group. ...
... Thus, this study aims to investigate further the character strength profiles under the theoretical framework of Seligman (2015) and discuss how strength profiles make differences on health outcomes. Mental health outcomes have been considered as a dichotomy, according to Manikam (2002), including mental wellbeing and mental illbeing. ...
... Particularly, the Strength Group had the highest levels of strength knowledge and strength use, whereas the Risk Group had the least levels of strength knowledge and strength use. The results generally supported Seligman (2015) theoretical framework of the associations between character strength and Common group 0.44 3 0.70 1,3 0.80 1,3 5.96 1,3 5.66 1,3 5.53 1,3 Strength group 0.21 3 0.39 2,3 0.27 2,3 6.88 2,3 6.67 2,3 6.77 2,3 mental disorder. This theoretical framework regarded character strength as a continuum construct; within a certain range, the low level of strengths indicated mental illbeing, whereas high level of strengths implied mental wellbeing (Seligman 2015). ...
Article
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Previous studies have shown that personality types may lead to different health status. The current study aims to refine a previous typological profile of strength using a heterogeneous sample (N = 5776) and clarify further the associations between strength profiles and mental wellbeing (e.g., flourishing), mental illbeing (e.g., depression, anxiety, and stress), strength knowledge, and strength use. Latent profile analysis was implemented to distinguish subgroups on the basis of the three-dimensional inventory of character strengths (e.g., self-control, inquisitiveness, and caring). Results refined previous findings and indicated three specific profiles, namely, Strength, Common, and Risk Groups. The Strength Group scored relatively high on self-control and inquisitiveness but low on caring; the Common Group scored relatively high on caring; and the Risk Group had relatively high scores on self-control. As expected, the Strength Group had the highest strength knowledge and strength use, whereas the Risk Group had the least strength knowledge and strength use. The three proposed profiles have significant differences of anxiety, stress, and flourishing; however, the difference of depression between the Strength and Risk Groups was insignificant compared with the Common Group. This study can be helpful in refining strength typologies for future effective strength-based interventions.
... Thus, mockery, ridicule, and sarcasm cannot be considered overuse of (morally good) humor (as understood in the classification) but should rather be considered the immoral or at least amoral misuse of humor skills. This notion is also in accordance with the further theoretical directions on the VIA classification put forward by Peterson (2006b) and Seligman (2015). Following the publication of the handbook, Peterson (2006b) envisioned the classification to evolve into a comprehensive taxonomy of mental health and mental disorders. ...
... Similar to the previous criterion, as well as Park and Peterson (2007) stated that each character strength satisfies this requirement inherently. Considering Peterson (2006b) and Seligman's (2015) extension to the VIA classification, this also rules out positive antonyms of seemingly cognate characteristics, such as cynicism, intrusiveness, and prudishness. Although related, these phenomena could better be described as exaggerations of character strengths and should thus not be confused with the morally valued traits (Peterson, 2006b). ...
... Homeless people as well as people subject to autism spectrum disorder, and people subject to gelotophobia (i.e., the fear of being laughed at) consistently reported lower endorsement of various character strengths (Kirchner, Ruch, & Dziobek, 2016;Proyer & Ruch, 2009;Tweed, Biswas-Diener, & Lehman, 2012). In the framework of the extended VIA model proposed by Peterson (2006b) and Seligman (2015), it is plausible to expect mental illness and hardship to be associated with the absence of character strengths. However, in the case of the fear of being laughed at, Ruch (2009) and showed that gelotophobes' peer-ratings largely exceeded their self-reports, hence suggesting that they merely underestimate their own virtuousness. ...
Book
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Zusammen wachsen – Förderung der positiv-psychologischen Entwicklung von Individuen, Organisationen und Gesellschaft war das Thema der 3. Konferenz der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Positiv-Psychologische Forschung (DGPPF), die im Mai 2018 an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum stattfand. Basierend auf den dort präsentierten Beiträgen finden Sie in diesem Band aktuelle positiv-psychologische Forschung zu den Schwerpunkten „Individuum“, „Organisation“ und „Gesellschaft“. Die Sammlung enthält interdisziplinäre Beiträge in deutscher und englischer Sprache zu Themen wie • Charakterstärken in der Personalauswahl, • ein Vergleich positiv-psychologischer Forschungsmethoden, • Positive Psychologie und New Work, • Liebe und Lebensglück • sowie Lebenskunst. Die bunte Vielfalt der Beiträge soll zu spannenden Einsichten anregen sowie zum Nach- und Weiterdenken.
... Another aspect pertaining to the Personality Wheel has to do with having balance in one's life. Seligman (2015) emphasizes focusing on building and maintaining character strengths. His research has generated the identification of 24-character strengths including courage, wisdom, persistence temperance, amongst others. ...
... Whereas it is important to build on these strengths, Seligman also cautions against what he refers to as unbalanced levels. In fact, various definitions of psychopathology may be represented by the opposite, absence or excess of one of the 24 character's strengths (Seligman, 2015). An example of an imbalance of personality traits could be depicted by someone working excessively. ...
... Character strengths have different moral values than those of aptitudes, and unlike aptitudes, character strengths can be developed. According to the positive psychology literature, for a trait to be considered a character strength, most of the following criteria must be met: (1) a strength must contribute to fulfillment and to the good life; (2) a strength must be morally valued in its own right; (3) the expression of a strength does not diminish people; (4) almost every parent wants their child to have the strength; (5) there are rituals and institutions in a society that support the strength; (6) the strength is universal, valued across philosophy, religion, politics, and culture-past and present; (7) there are people who are profoundly deficient in one or more strengths; (8) the strength is measurable; (9) there are prodigies and paragons that reflect the strength in profound ways; and (10) the strength is distinct in and of itself, from other strengths and positive qualities Seligman, 2015). Following the research of 55 scientists over a number of years, 24 character strengths were found to meet these and other criteria, and to be ubiquitous across cultures. ...
... These six virtues are the core features traditionally valued by philosophers and religious scholars; they are universal and are likely grounded in human biology . Peterson suggested that while the 24 strengths are the "good" in a person, their absence, opposite or excess is the "ill" in a person (Seligman, 2015). However, this theoretical proposal has not yet been tested empirically. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter focuses on the contribution of strengths of character and mindfulness to the sense of meaning in life across central life domains, such as work, education, and family. Our conceptualization of character strengths is based on the universal VIA Classification of 24 character strengths, which are hierarchically organized across six broader virtue categories (Peterson and Seligman, Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2004). We discuss empirical findings regarding various aspects of character strengths: strengths endorsement, strengths deployment, general strengths, and specific strengths. We then discuss mindfulness meditation and related practices; beginning with core concepts, followed by research findings around mindfulness practices and manualized programs. Next, we turn to a review of what is known about the integration of character strengths and mindfulness, followed by an examination of meaning, the integration of meaning and character strengths, and the integration of meaning and mindfulness, from conceptual and scientific frameworks. This culminates to an articulation of practice considerations. Here, we examine two domains: (1) targeted interventions, which reflect this research (i.e., “sources of meaning,” “strengths alignment,” and “what matters most?”), and (2) a multi-faceted character strengths program, Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice (MBSP), aimed to increase the meaningful life. We conclude with suggestions for future research.
... When self-regulation is used in excess, it can become destructive rather than productive. Staying steadfast to the character strength of self-regulation can lead to inhibition, restriction, and deprivation (Seligman, 2015); all of which are characteristics of the eating disorders. ...
... In such cases, the overuse or underuse of strengths can potentially lead to undesirable outcomes and even psychopathology. Seligman (2015) has uncovered that there is an optimal-use of strengths; where there is a right combination of character strengths, the right degree or amount exercised, and the right time, situation or context for the application. Figure 5 below illustrates the extreme of strength overuse and underuse. ...
Article
Eating disorders are bio-psycho-social diseases that affect nearly twenty million women and ten million men in America (National Eating Disorder Association, 2018). They are serious but treatable illnesses that develop when a genetic predisposition is paired with an environmental activation. Out of all mental illnesses, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate, with one person dying as a direct result of an eating disorder every 62 minutes (Smink, Van Hoeken, & Hoek, 2012). Eating disorders adversely affect every aspect of human life, including physical and mental health, intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships, professional pursuits, sense of meaning and purpose, and overall well-being. Existing treatment methods provide opportunities for individuals with eating disorders to interrupt and reduce symptoms. Relapse during and soon after treatment, however, is extremely common. The field of eating disorders has not yet pivoted to address what patients need to sustain recovery and thrive. Positive psychology’s theory, research, and interventions present a supplemental treatment approach for practitioners to implement to revive the recovery process to increase the success for those struggling with eating disorders. Positive psychology can operate to empower and motivate patients, reconnecting them to their meaning and purpose outside of the illness. This paper discusses eating disorders in-depth, recognizes and applauds traditional treatment methods, and proposes how enhancing positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment can further promote recovery.
... While Peterson (2006) does note that clinical disorders like bipolar or schizophrenia may have more biological roots, other THE HAPPY SAINT psychopathologies (i.e., depression, anxiety, attention disorders, etc.) may however, fall into the AOE model (Peterson, 2006). The DSM-V was not meant to originally be a treatment manual for practitioners, it set out to be a tool for researchers (Seligman, 2015). And, as Seligman (2015) states, only became such a panacea manual because of the rise in reimbursement for treatments through insurance. ...
... And, as Seligman (2015) states, only became such a panacea manual because of the rise in reimbursement for treatments through insurance. The DSM-V was supposed to help researchers with common language, but because of the pressure to treat mental illness arose, the DSM-V stepped in to fill the gap, even if the treatments were untested and unaligned (Seligman, 2015). Treatments are often not specific (i.e., antidepressant medication to treat depression, anxiety, etc.) and are effective only 65% of the time next to placebo controls (Seligman, 2011). ...
Article
Research has shown the benefits of religion and spirituality to an individual’s well-being. And yet, over the last several decades, the Catholic Church has seen a decline in affiliated members, especially amongst adolescents. Furthermore, this same population of adolescents has experienced exponential increases in anxiety, depression, and suicide rates, which begs the question: how must the Church respond? This paper examines this decline in religious affiliation and decrease in adolescent well-being, looking specifically towards character strengths and virtue for remedies. Finally, using the new science of positive psychology, this paper will propose that holiness is found through living the virtuous life, which ultimately leads to a life of fulfillment.
... Caution must be taken though to not under or overuse character strengths. The under and overuse of a character strength can have psychopathological consequences (Freidlan, Littman-Ovadia, & Niemiec, 2017;Grant & Schwartz, 2011;Seligman, 2015). For example, an appropriate amount of curiosity helps the PM stay thoughtfully engaged throughout the day. ...
... For example, an appropriate amount of curiosity helps the PM stay thoughtfully engaged throughout the day. But while the underuse of curiosity looks like disinterest and can lead to others not feeling well regarded as well as not being fully engaged at the task at hand, the overuse of curiosity is nosiness, where attention is placed on gossip and hearsay in the workplace instead of working toward building relationships (Seligman, 2015). This overuse of curiosity can magnify problems. ...
Article
Cybersecurity professionals in the federal government work on complex problems in organizations where they have multiple competing roles. In addition, the gap between workers with cyber skills and job openings means that current cybersecurity professionals must carry a heavy load. Combined, this can lead to stress that has negative consequences for their well-being. Positive psychology can help address this, particularly through enhancing positive experiences, leveraging character strengths, developing resilience skills, and building psychological safety. Resilience skills help cybersecurity professionals increase capacity their capacity to deal with uncertainty and build strong teams. Psychological safety supports and environment of innovation and professional development. These strategies are accessible ways for cybersecurity professionals to thrive in their work, improving their well-being as well as their ability to better address the emergent threats of a volatile world.
... Many of the Peterson pathologies are of questionable relevance to clinical phenomena, however, as noted by Seligman (2014). Though nosiness could result in interpersonal distress if excessive, its centrality to a theory of clinical phenomena is dubitable. ...
... According to Peterson (2006), it is impossible to use perspective too much, so he did not provide a pathology of excess. In contrast, Seligman (2014) added the concept of 'ivory tower' to capture the exaggeration of perspective. Aristotle discussed the concept of phronesis, often translated as practical wisdom, which refers to the wise and measured application of virtue to specific circumstances (Bartlett & Collins, 2007). ...
Article
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Three models are described that attempt to integrate clinical diagnosis with the strengths-based model introduced by Peterson and Seligman (2004 Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. [Google Scholar]). The strengths as syndrome model proposes conceptualizing clinical diagnoses in terms of excesses and deficiencies in strengths. The strengths as symptoms model suggests conceptualizing clinical symptoms as excesses or deficiencies in strengths. After reviewing these two models, we introduce a third. The strengths as moderators model suggests that signature or deficient strengths can serve moderators of clinical presentation within traditional diagnostic categories. This differs from the prior models primarily in offering a complement rather than alternative to traditional diagnostic formulation. A clinical case is provided highlighting the differences. The three approaches are not incompatible with each other, and in combination may provide practitioners a variety of perspectives for employing strength-based concepts in clinical interactions.
... Algunas de las categorías del DSM están relacionadas con las fortalezas de Peterson: por ejemplo, "Desesperación", lo opuesto a la esperanza, captura una parte importante del trastorno depresivo mayor, pero no todo el trastorno. La desesperación, en otras palabras, no subsume el Trastorno Depresivo Mayor, ni pretende hacerlo (Seligman, 2015). ...
... Se podría pensar que una baja Persistencia justamente se asocia con la falta de adherencia a un tratamiento psiquiátrico. Seligman (2015) afirma que lo contrario a la persistencia sería la indefensión, una característica que se asocia con alta sintomatología y bajo nivel de afrontamiento. Sin embargo, no se encontró diferencia entre pacientes con y sin tratamiento psicológico previo. ...
Article
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La investigación que se informa tuvo como objetivos: 1) estudiar las 24 fortalezas de carácter en pacientes adultos que se encuentran en diferentes etapas de un tratamiento cognitivo conductual psicoterapéutico naturalista; y 2) analizar la relación de las fortalezas con algunas del progreso durante el tratamiento, la alianza terapéutica y la adherencia al tratamiento desde la perspectiva del terapeuta. Se contó con una muestra intencional de 85 pacientes adultos de ambos sexos en tratamiento psicoterapéutico ambulatorio y sus respectivos terapeutas. Se utilizaron: una hoja de datos demográficos y del tratamiento, el Inventario de Fortalezas y Virtudes y una encuesta de opinión para el terapeuta. Los resultados mostraron que los pacientes en la etapa final presentan una mayor fortaleza de Autorregulación. Los pacientes con depresión presentaban menores fortalezas de apertura mental y capacidad de perdonar, en comparación con pacientes con trastornos de ansiedad y con trastornos comórbidos ansioso-depresivos. Aquellos pacientes que habían tenido un tratamiento psiquiátrico previo presentaban menores niveles de la fortaleza persistencia. Un mayor tiempo de tratamiento se asoció con mayores niveles de las fortalezas Liderazgo y curiosidad, en tanto que un mayor malestar psicológico se vinculó con una disminución de una alta cantidad de fortalezas. La fortaleza espiritualidad se halló significativamente asociada al progreso en el tratamiento según su terapeuta. Una mayor apertura mental se halló vinculada a mayor adherencia a horarios, sugerencias y mejor vínculo terapéutico según la opinión del terapeuta. El estudio del funcionamiento positivo en pacientes permitirá enriquecer la psicología clínica para convertirse en una disciplina más integradora.
... Ng & Tay, 2020). For example, clinical psychologists have begun to reframe mental illness in terms of mental health, where humility, for instance, represents the virtuous conceptual golden mean of optimal human functioning between the deficiencies of arrogance and selfdeprecation (Peterson, 2006;Seligman, 2014). These extremes can be seen as maladaptive behavioral strategies to protect a threatened sense of self. ...
... However, to date, there is no integrated classification of psychopathology and normality that is widely accepted by theorists and clinicians. One of Peterson's latest works attempted to develop a new mental illness nosology starting from the VIA sanity nosology and stating the pathological versions of each of its aspects (Seligman, 2014). Although remarkably interesting, this work remains unfinished. ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this paper is to explore a new framework for personality assessment that may function as sanity nosology of personality traits: the Positive Personality Model (PPM). The recent publication of DSM-5 created the opportunity to assess personality traits as dimensional constructs (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). In Section III, five maladaptive personality traits are proposed as the maladaptive versions of Five Factor Model (FFM) traits (Costa and McCrae, 1985). This approach draws on the existing idea of conceptualizing pathological and typical personality traits as part of a continuum. It places DSM-5′s maladaptive traits in a sickness pole and FFM’s traits in a “typical” pole. This spectrum, however, does not include a positive perspective that represents healthy behavior: a sanity nosology. The Positive Traits Inventory-5 (PTI-5; de la Iglesia and Castro Solano, 2018) is a measure designed to assess the positive reverse of the Personality Inventory for DSM-5-Adult (PID-5; Krueger et al., 2013). The 220 positive personality criteria were studied psychometrically using a sample of 1902 Argentinean adults from the general population (Mage = 39.10, SD = 13.81, Min = 18, and Max = 83; 50.1% females, 49.9% males). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses resulted in a five-factor solution. The dimensions were labeled Sprightliness, Integrity, Serenity, Moderation, and Humanity and subsumed under the denomination of PPM. Analyses of convergent validity provided some grounds for interpreting the five positive traits as positive versions of the pathological traits and the typical traits. When tested for its predictive capability on mental health, the PPM outperformed the variance explained by the FFM. It is concluded that the PPM may constitute a positive pole in the continuum of personality traits –possibly functioning as a sanity nosology– and that it is somewhat more related to optimal functioning than typical trait models. The PPM should be confirmed in other populations, its predictive capability ought to be tested with other relevant variables, and longitudinal studies should be done to analyze the stability of the traits over time.
... The SaM model attempts to describe human functioning by integrating strengths as a complement to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) symptoms and syndromes. This deviates from prior models which describe strengths as an alternative way to conceptualize psychological disorders (e.g., Peterson, 2006;Rashid, 2015aRashid, , 2015bSeligman, 2014). ...
Article
Following the advent of modern positive psychology, there has been a surge of empirical research on strengths and a call for incorporating strengths into clinical models of psychopathology. In this review, we conceptualize strengths as a subset of personality traits and dissect the criteria used to define strengths. In hopes of improving theoretical models of strengths, we reconsider the personal choice to deploy strengths, the implications of strength use for well-being, and the costs of over-relying on particular strengths. As an illustration, we critically examine a new model of strengths with suggestions for defining, measuring, and developing interventions for strengths. These insights are offered to encourage critical examination of the conditions under which strengths best facilitate well-being.
... It is true that the model does not include vice, but I have to wonder why that is a problem. The model was always about positive traits, though Peterson (2006, Seligman, 2015 did introduce the hypothesis that psychopathology could be understood in terms of misuse of the strengths (see Hall-Simmonds & McGrath in this same issue for more details). I turn again to proposition (1) above: the VIA Classification is a way to describe people's patterns of positive social functioning; it is not intended to provide a comprehensive model of moral functioning. ...
Article
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Han, Miller, and Snow have written three thoughtful critiques of the VIA Classification of Strengths and Virtues. In this response, I emphasize five points. First, I suggest the concept of practical wisdom may be understood in terms of three VIA strengths: prudence, judgment, and perspective. Second, recognizing that the VIA Classification is a structural model of individual traits, rather than a moral theory, can address some concerns about the model, including its failure to account for the unity of the virtues. Third, I review a three-virtue model that has emerged in recent research on the VIA strengths may provide essential elements for a taxonomy of virtue. Fourth, I raise several issues associated with the application of the VIA Classification to moral education. Finally, though the model demonstrates substantial generalizabilty across Westernized populations, research in traditional indigenous cultures remains insufficient. I conclude with a series of questions for future research.
... While intriguing, Peterson's multi-faceted approach has been viewed as rather intricate (Seligman 2015), creating a need for a more practical conceptualization for examining pathology through strengths. Other theoretical propositions have suggested a context-dependent explanation (e.g., Grant and Schwartz 2011), applying Aristotle's (1999) golden mean notion to strengths, suggesting that strengths as we approach them today lie between two poles, represented by insufficient or excessive expressions of a strength. ...
Article
Theoretical propositions suggesting that character strengths (CSs) may have darker sides have triggered a new wave of studies, providing novel insight into the role that misuse of CSs play in psychopathology. Pioneering research in the field has addressed the challenge of constructing an instrument for measuring over/under/optimal use of CSs, and explaining the role of specific strengths’ underuse or overuse in social anxiety disorder. The present study sought to continue this line of research by examining the role of specific strengths’ underuse-overuse in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). An international sample of 970 adults completed online questionnaires derived from a CSs website. We first replicated findings that general CSs' underuse and overuse were associated with negative outcomes, while optimal use was related to positive outcomes. Second, we found obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) to be associated with the overuse of social intelligence, judgment, appreciation of beauty and excellence, fairness, perseverance, and prudence, as well as with underuse of forgiveness, self-regulation, curiosity, and creativity. Using simultaneous regression, the noted misuse of strengths, not including the overuse of perseverance and the underuse of curiosity and creativity, accounted for almost a quarter of the variance in OCS. Using discriminant analysis, the combination of the overuse of social intelligence, judgment, appreciation of beauty and excellence, fairness, and prudence, as well as the underuse of forgiveness and self-regulation, successfully re-sorted 89.3% of the participants into those that do and do not have clinical levels of OCD. These findings provide support to the role of strengths misuse in psychopathology.
... Second, the use of traditional psychometric scales that assume a monotonic relationship between scores and the underlying construct is similarly problematic in the context of virtue measurement, where there is a strong tradition suggesting a 'golden mean' that represents an optimal state between excess and deficit (Fowers, 2008;Schwartz & Sharpe, 2006). Even Peterson (2006) and Seligman (2014), the original authors of the VIA-IS, have expressed support for the hypothesis of an optimal level for each strength. ...
Article
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Philosophical and religious traditions often refer to ‘the virtuous person.’ This terminology usually carries with it the assumption that a class of individuals exists who have achieved a virtuous state. This study attempted to test that implication. The VIA Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) is intended as a comprehensive assessment of character strengths, which are conceptualized as markers of virtuous character. One prior study using taxometric methods found no evidence for the existence of such a category of individuals using VIA-IS scores. Subsequent literature has suggested the superiority of finite mixture modeling for identifying categorical structure. Latent profile analyses of 1–10 classes were conducted in a stratified sample of 10,000 adults. The results provided little evidence for class structure, and support thinking of virtue as something we must continuously pursue rather than a state that we achieve.
... The VIA-IS has been validated against self-and other-nomination of character strengths and correlates with measures of subjective well-being and happiness . Similar to mindfulness, the first line of studies pointed out that character strengths play a role in reducing both psychological and physical pathologies (e.g., Seligman, 2015). For example, studies showed that strengths of hope, zest, and leadership were related to fewer problems with anxiety and depression, while strengths of persistence, honesty, prudence, and love were substantially related to fewer externalizing problems such as aggression (Park & Peterson, 2008); negative correlations were found between hope and psychological distress and school maladjustment (Gilman, Dooley, & Florell, 2006); the anxiety disorder of gelotophobia (the fear of being laughed at) was found to be highly related to lower scores in hope, zest, and love (Proyer, Wellenzohn, & Ruch, 2014); negative effects of stress and trauma could be buffered with hope, kindness, social intelligence, self-regulation, and perspective as well as vulnerabilities that lead to depression and anxiety could be buffered with transcendence strengths (Huta & Hawley, 2010); higher temperance scores were associated with abstinence, lower risk drinking, and fewer consequences among heavy student drinkers (Logan, Kilmer, & Marlatt, 2010) as well as less addiction to smart phones (Choi et al., 2015); and social intelligence and kindness were associated with less mental health (Vertilo & Gibson, 2014). ...
... As a result, character variables did not offer much incremental value to the prediction of clinical variables. This finding potentially raises a challenge to recent efforts attempting to reframe clinical phenomena in strength terms (Rashid, 2015;Seligman, 2014). However, it should be noted that these efforts consistently call for examining curvilinear relationships between strengths and clinical symptoms, an analysis outside the scope of the present investigation. ...
Article
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Two studies were conducted to investigate redundancy between the character strengths found in the VIA model of character and familiar personality facets. Study 1 used a community sample (N = 606) that completed a measure of character strengths, four personality inventories, and 17 criterion measures. The second study used Mechanical Turk workers (N = 498) who completed measures of the HEXACO and VIA models and 111 criterion variables. Analyses were conducted using both observed scores and true score estimates, evaluating both predictive and conceptual overlap. Eight of 24 VIA scales proved to be largely redundant with one HEXACO personality facet, but only one VIA scale (Appreciation of Beauty) was largely redundant with Five Factor facets. All strength scales except Spirituality overlapped substantially with at least one personality facet. The results suggest the VIA Classification variables are strongly related to commonly measured personality facets, but the two models are not redundant.
... A more balanced approach recognizes this and deliberately seeks to find the desirable middle ground between overabundance and paucity, encouraging the investigation of how and why individuals may be drawn to one pole or another and how to curtail this inclination when appropriate. This goal will be facilitated through a better understand the pathologies associated with deficiency and excess (Seligman, 2015). ...
Article
Positive psychology (PP), the empirical study of optimal human functioning (Linley, Joseph, Harrington, & Wood, 2006), has grown considerably and made important contributions to science and practice since its introduction at the end of the last century. It has also been the subject of a number of persistent criticisms. Addressing these criticisms to move the area forward represents a major challenge and opportunity for PP. However, doing so is hampered by the lack of a framework to guide this effort. The present paper presents a strategic guiding framework explicitly based on balance that allows PP to effectively address the criticisms leveled against it and advance the study of optimal human functioning. Implications for theory, research and practice are discussed.
... This is because the construct of character strengths may represent a continuum from ill-being (low level) to wellbeing (high level) [10]. Another reason is that, according to the continuum approach of character strengths proposed by Seligman [67], having mental illnesses is the low level or the failure of personal character strengths. In accordance with the temperament and character model [59], at least two strengths with low scores (i.e., caring and self-control in this study) were recurrent among individuals with mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. ...
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Purpose: Character strength is described as a positive and organized pattern of emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. It serves as a schema that organizes categories of information toward the self, others, and the world, and provides the self-aware knowledge that facilitates the pursuit of goals, values, and ethical principles. Recent research has suggested that three reliable factors emerge from the measures of character strengths: caring, inquisitiveness, and self-control. The goal of this paper is to develop a psychometrically sound short measure of character strength. Methods: The questions were addressed in two studies using two independent samples: a cross-cultural (i.e., 518 Asians and 556 Westerners) sample, and a cross-population (i.e., 175 community participants and 171 inpatients) sample in China. Results: Findings from the exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis suggested a cross-cultural three-factor model of character strength that could be measured by the Three-dimensional Inventory of Character Strengths (TICS). A multigroup confirmatory factor analysis further indicated that the number of factors and factor loadings was invariant in the medical and community samples. This result indicated that the brief inventory could be applied to a medical context. Internal reliability, content validity, and predictive validity were good, although the predictive validity of the three character strengths for psychological symptoms in the medical sample was more modest than that in the community sample. Conclusions: TICS is expected to be used for screening populations at risk, and a tool to aid mental health professionals in group-based treatment/intervention planning. It also should be noted that this short inventory should be used with caution for individual decision making.
... Finally, there is also the idea that pathology could be described in terms of traits that are the opposite of character strengths, reflect their absence, or even perhaps an excess of character strengths. Such a model, however, is still under development (see Seligman 2015). Overall, one might conclude that PP has helped to revive (personality) psychology's interest in the study character. ...
... Desde una perspectiva social y comunitaria, el desarrollo de las fortalezas puede contribuir a la promoción de la salud, encajando así la Psicología Positiva y dentro de ella, las fortalezas psicológicas, como una disciplina que se esfuerza en promover el desarrollo los aspectos positivos del ser humano en los individuos, en los grupos y en la sociedad en general (Guðrún Guðmundsdóttir, 2015). En este sentido, la incorporación del vocabulario sobre fortalezas en el día a día contribuiría a cambiar la perspectiva sobre el concepto de salud mental, partiendo de un enfoque de fomento de la resiliencia social (Ovejero, 2015;Seligman, 2015). ...
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Este trabajo presenta una revisión sistemática sobre las fortalezas psicológicas propuestas por el modelo Values in Action (VIA) y su relación con el bienestar, la satisfacción vital, la felicidad, la resiliencia y la salud en diferentes poblaciones. Los resultados de la revisión de 47 estudios permiten concluir que las fortalezas psicológicas están relacionadas positi-vamente con la satisfacción vital, el bienestar, la felicidad, la resiliencia y la salud, y en menor medida con indicadores de afecto negativo. Estos resultados son similares en distintos contextos y en diversos grupos de edad. Se discuten los hallazgos de los diversos estudios y se proponen implicaciones y perspectivas futuras del estudio y del desarrollo de las fortalezas psicológicas en los individuos, en los grupos y en la sociedad en general. Palabras clave: Fortalezas psicológicas; Modelo VIA; Resiliencia; Bienestar; Felicidad; Salud This study is a systematically review of the Values in Action (VIA) model of virtues and strengths and its correlation with well-being, life satisfaction, happiness, resilience, and health in different populations. A total of 47 studies were reviewed. The results showed that psychological strengths were associated with higher levels of happiness, well-being, resilience, health, and positive affect, and weakly associated with negative affect. These results are similar across different settings and ages. We discuss the results of the studies and consider their implications for future research related to the development of psychological strengths in individuals, groups, and society.
... From a preventative perspective, interventions targeting signature CSs may promote individual resources (Di Fabio & Saklofske, 2014). An additional avenue is applying existing therapies to discrete strength deviations (as opposed to entire DSM disorders), such as applying systematic desensitization to cowardice, the underuse of bravery (Seligman, 2015). Another intriguing direction is combining positive strength-treatments with existing pathology symptom alleviation, introducing novel positive psychology perspectives to existing approaches. ...
Article
Despite a number of theoretical propositions suggesting that character strengths are multidimensional and may have darker sides, to date strengths have been approached strictly as a positive entity. The current study sought to (a) define and measure these darker sides of character strengths in the form of underuse-overuse, as well as their traditionally positive counterpart––optimal use––and their associations with positive and negative outcomes, and (b) explain the role of specific strengths' underuse-overuse in social anxiety. Based on an international sample of 238 adults, we found that general character strengths underuse and overuse were related to negative outcomes, while optimal use was related to positive outcomes. The overuse of social intelligence and humility, and underuse of zest, humor, self-regulation and social intelligence was associated with social anxiety. Using discriminant analysis, this combination successfully re-sorted 87.3% of the participants into those that do and do not have clinical levels of social anxiety. These findings suggest that strengths are in fact multifaceted, providing novel insight into the role that sub-optimal-use facets play in undesirable outcomes, providing a glimpse of psychopathology through the lens of positive psychology.
... You can see your rank-ordered 24 strengths by going back to the Questionnaires tab and visiting the Questionnaire Center. (Seligman, 2015) • Reflect upon the following: do any of your top strengths surprise you? What about your lower strengths? ...
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It is estimated that between 25-75% of physicians suffer from burnout. Symptoms of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a low sense of personal accomplishment afflict physicians as early as medical school, into residency training, and throughout medical practice, with potential consequences for patient healthcare outcomes, public health, and the costs of our health system. While medical institutions can do more to support physician, trainee, and medical student self-care, physicians cannot wait for institutional change in order to pursue well-being. A construct for physician flourishing is proposed, borrowing from and building off of prior validated constructs of psychological and physical well-being. This proposed model, known as REVAMP, focuses on six elements that comprise physician flourishing. Specific interventions to improve each of these elements are proposed that may be used by the individual practitioner, in formal medical education settings, or by practicing physicians in continuing medical education programs. Waiting to intervene until physicians are burned out and suffering has high costs; proactive approaches such as those suggested within REVAMP can be adopted as early as undergraduate medical school education to help physicians-in-training cultivate optimal well-being. Flourishing physicians deliver the highest quality patient care. It is time to help our healers flourish.
... The explanation of psychological disorders as Bdisorders of character strengths^was proposed by Peterson (2006) noting, in which an example is to consider the Bdisorders of courage^which would contain the exaggeration, absence, and opposite of each strength. Seligman (2015) argued that with additional research this approach could shift the way mental illness is viewed, diagnosed, and treated. The reframe of disorders in the context of imbalanceoveruse, underuse, optimal-use (Niemiec 2018)and its accompanying measurement tool (Freidlin et al. 2017), may provide the proper nuance, semantics, and catalyst for such a reframe. ...
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Life is a collection of moments, some light and pleasant, some dark and unpleasant, some neutral. Character strengths contribute to the full range of human experiences, influencing and creating positive opportunities while also helping us to endure the mundane and embrace and navigate the struggles. Some researchers have argued that thriving, which casts a wider net on the human experience than constructs such as flourishing or resilience, constitutes strong well-being and performance at times of both adversity and opportunity (Brown et al. 2017). With this and the many findings in the science of character in mind, six character strengths functions are theorized and then applied across time orientations, making the case for the integral role of character strengths in these matters of thriving. Three opportunity functions are offered, including priming in which character strengths prompt and prepare for strengths awareness and use; mindfulness in which character strengths serve in synergy with mindful awareness of the present reality; and appreciation in which character strengths use expresses value for what has occurred. The three adversity functions include: buffering – character strengths use prevents problems; reappraisal – character strengths explain or reinterpret problems; and resilience – character strengths support the bounce-back from life setbacks. Several applications of these six functions for vocational and educational settings are explored.
... Throughout the centuries and across cultures, there has been ancient wisdom reflecting something akin to a golden meana balance among too much and too littlefor not only a variety of positive attributes and outcomes but our innermost characteristics such as our character strengths and virtues. The field of positive psychology has brought theorizing to these issues of balance (Wong, 2011) and striving toward a middle way or an alternative framing using character strengths to explain psychopathology and problems (Biswas-Diener et al., 2011;Niemiec, 2014;Peterson, 2006;Rashid & Seligman, 2018;Seligman, 2015). This was reinforced by researchers showing the existence of the construct of the "too much of a good thing effect" (Busse et al., 2016), and by other researchers citing studies for the overuse of numerous character strengths (Grant & Schwartz, 2011). ...
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The science of well-being has catalyzed a tremendous amount of research with no area more robust in application and impact than the science of character strengths. As the empirical links between character strengths and positive outcomes rapidly grow, the research around strength imbalances and the use of strengths with problems and conflicts is nascent. The use of character strengths in understanding and handling life suffering as well as emerging from it, is particularly aligned within second wave positive psychology. Areas of particular promise include strengths overuse and strengths underuse, alongside its companion of strengths optimal use. The latter is viewed as the golden mean of character strengths which refers to the expression of the right combination of strengths, to the right degree, and in the right situation. This paper discusses these constructs, maps out each across 24 universal character strengths, and deliberates on reasons for overuse and underuse. Practical strategies for counselors to support clients in the pursuit of optimal strengths use and the management of overuse and underuse are outlined. These include thoughts on wise interventions, the tempering effect, the towing effect, direct questioning, mindfulness, strengths-spotting, the use of a leading strengths model (aware-explore-apply), and eliciting feedback from others.
... You can see your rank-ordered 24 strengths by going back to the Questionnaires tab and visiting the Questionnaire Center. (Seligman, 2015) • Reflect upon the following: do any of your top strengths surprise you? What about your lower strengths? ...
Article
Full-text available
It is estimated that between 25-75% of physicians suffer from burnout. Symptoms of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a low sense of personal accomplishment afflict physicians as early as medical school, into residency training, and throughout medical practice, with potential consequences for patient healthcare outcomes, public health, and the costs of our health system. While medical institutions can do more to support physician, trainee, and medical student self-care, physicians cannot wait for institutional change in order to pursue well-being. A construct for physician flourishing is proposed, borrowing from and building off of prior validated constructs of psychological and physical well-being. This proposed model, known as REVAMP, focuses on six elements that comprise physician flourishing. Specific interventions to improve each of these elements are proposed that may be used by the individual practitioner, in formal medical education settings, or by practicing physicians in continuing medical education programs. Waiting to intervene until physicians are burned out and suffering has high costs; proactive approaches such as those suggested within REVAMP can be adopted as early as undergraduate medical school education to help physicians-in-training cultivate optimal well-being. Flourishing physicians deliver the highest quality patient care. It is time to help our healers flourish.
... A variety of approaches concerning the content of each character would depend on the underpinning theory. For example, some investigators may use "creativity" and "perspective" to represent wisdom (Seligman, 2015), while for the SBI, we selected decision-making to represent the characteristic of wisdom. Likewise, we adopted "act of helping" to represent the characteristics of generosity. ...
Article
Ten perfections (known as inner strengths) are considered positive psychological characteristics, namely, generosity, morality, mindfulness/meditation, wisdom, perseverance, patience and endurance, truthfulness, determination, loving kindness and equanimity. The goal of this study was to develop a new instrument, the (inner) Strength-Based Inventory (SBI) based on these ten perfections. In all, 947 participants completed the SBI for item evaluation using Rasch analysis, and 556 completed the original version of the SBI comprising 10 items with five to eight response choices. The final version comprising 10 items, with five choices for each item, which were completed by 391 participants for the second evaluation. All 10 items showed a unidimensional construct with good fit statistics, good reliability and targeting. The SBI provided sufficient validity and reliability based on the Rasch measurement model. It may facilitate counselling and psychotherapy by enabling clinicians to use it as an individual’s positive resource. Further investigation among diverse cultures is encouraged.
... Desde una perspectiva social y comunitaria, el desarrollo de las fortalezas puede contribuir a la promoción de la salud, encajando así la Psicología Positiva y dentro de ella, las fortalezas psicológicas, como una disciplina que se esfuerza en promover el desarrollo los aspectos positivos del ser humano en los individuos, en los grupos y en la sociedad en general (Guðrún Guðmundsdóttir, 2015). En este sentido, la incorporación del vocabulario sobre fortalezas en el día a día contribuiría a cambiar la perspectiva sobre el concepto de salud mental, partiendo de un enfoque de fomento de la resiliencia social (Ovejero, 2015;Seligman, 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
Este trabajo presenta una revisión sistemática sobre las fortalezas psicológicas propuestas por el modelo Values in Action (VIA) y su relación con el bienestar, la satisfacción vital, la felicidad, la resiliencia y la salud en diferentes poblaciones. Los resultados de la revisión de 47 estudios permiten concluir que las fortalezas psicológicas están relacionadas positivamente con la satisfacción vital, el bienestar, la felicidad, la resiliencia y la salud, y en menor medida con indicadores de afecto negativo. Estos resultados son similares en distintos contextos y en diversos grupos de edad. Se discuten los hallazgos de los diversos estudios y se proponen implicaciones y perspectivas futuras del estudio y del desarrollo de las fortalezas psicológicas en los individuos, en los grupos y en la sociedad en general.
... One of the ways to develop strengths comes from the concept of overuse, underuse and optimal use of character strengths. This notion was first introduced by Peterson, who attempted to provide some thoughts for a complementary DSM by proposing a classification of psychological disorders using the language of strengths with dimensions, which he named strength exaggeration, absence, and opposite (Peterson 2006;Seligman 2015). Rashid and Seligman (2018) also attempted to reframe psychological disorders, referring to them as a symptom of strengths, such as lack and excess of strengths. ...
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Hikikomori, or social withdrawal youth has become one of the most pressing social issues in Japan and this phenomenon is increasing in other countries as well. While there is a movement to pathologize this phenomenon as a new psychological disorder, these case reports provide a fresh perspective of hikikomori using the lens of character strengths in the scientific field of positive psychology. These case reports illustrate how the hikikomori phenomenon can be understood, at least in part, using the framework of character strengths overuse, underuse, and optimal use by conducting the character strengths intervention for hikikomori youth. The authors offer examples of combinations of overuse and underuse of character strengths, with particular attention to the unique signature strengths, among hikikomori youth. Future directions of research include an empirical investigation of the relationship between the hikikomori phenomenon and the notion of overuse, underuse, and optimal use of character strengths, potentially using research methodology.
... Los autores concluyeron que para aumentar la felicidad el trabajo en fortalezas del carácter es efectivo. Cabe señalar que Peterson (Seligman, 2014) puso atención también en "las debilidades"los rasgos personales ausentes o excesivamente presentes, aunque su teoría sobre ellas no es completa. ...
... The dual mediating effect of gratitude and parenting stress in the relationship between neuroticism and postpartum depression 이는 신경증적 성향이 직접 산후 우울에 영향을 미치거나 혹은 감사 강점의 감소를 통해 산후 우울에 간접 영향을 미침을 가리킨다. 이와 같은 결과는 정신장애의 발병 은 취약한 특성으로 인한 것뿐만 아니라 강점의 부재로 인한 것(Kim JY, 2014;Seligman, 2015)이라는 긍정심리학계의 주장을 뒷받침한다. 즉 신경증적 성향은 감사 강점과는 상관 없이 산후 우울에 직접 영향을 미치기도 하지만 감사 강점의 발달을 저해하여 상황을 긍정적으로 지각하지 못하도록 하 고 양육에서 도움을 받더라도 그것을 인식하지 못하여 산후 우울을 증가시키는 것으로 보인다. ...
Article
Written from the perspective of a philosopher, this paper raises a number of potential concerns with how the VIA classifies and the VIA-IS measures character traits. With respect to the 24 character strengths, concerns are raised about missing strengths, the lack of vices, conflicting character strengths, the unclear connection between character strengths and virtues, and the misclassification of some character strengths under certain virtues. With respect to the 6 virtues, concerns are raised about conflicting virtues, the absence of practical wisdom, and factor analyses that do not find a 6 factor structure. With respect to the VIA-IS, concerns are raised about its neglect of motivation and about the underlying assumptions it makes about character traits. The paper ends by sketching a significantly improved classification which omits the 6 virtues and introduces additional strengths, vices, and a conflict resolution trait. © 2018
Article
The Brief Inventory of Thriving (BIT) was designed to measure a comprehensive construct of wellbeing beyond the traditional hedonia-versus-eudaimonia framework, highlighting the holism of human flourishing and functioning. This study evaluated the psychometric properties of the BIT in China. A total of 705 community participants and 251 college students completed the BIT, while the student sample also completed the Satisfaction with Life Scale, the Flourishing Scale, the Meaning in Life Questionnaire, the Positive Affect and Negative Affect Schedule, and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale. Results demonstrated good internal consistency, strong and solid single-factor structure, and good convergent and discriminant validities. Furthermore, the screening role of BIT in mental health status and the incremental validity beyond other wellbeing measures were determined.
Article
El objetivo de este trabajo fue estudiar la estructura factorial de un modelo de rasgos positivos de la personalidad en una muestra de población clínica, analizar diferencias en los rasgos positivos en comparación con una de población general y estudiar las asociaciones entre los rasgos positivos y la sintomatología psicológica en la muestra de población clínica. La muestra clínica estaba compuesta por 185 sujetos residentes en argentina cuyo promedio de edad era de 30.19 años (DE = 11.59, 59.5% mujeres, 40.5% varones). La muestra de población general estaba compuesta por 203 sujetos residentes en argentina cuya edad promedio era de 31.63 años (DE = 10.22, 64.5% mujeres, 35.5% hombres. Los resultados de lo estudios psicométricos de la medida de rasgos positivos indicaron el buen funcionamiento de la medida en población. Se encontró que los participantes pertenecientes a población clínica presentaron menor presencia de rasgos positivos de la personalidad en comparación con los individuos de población general y que los rasgos positivos de la personalidad se asociaron de forma negativa con la presencia de la mayoría de los síntomas psicopatológicos.
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Despite the increasing interest in the intersections among values, well-being and environmental outcomes in sustainability science, few studies have considered these relationships by drawing on well-established theories and methods from positive psychology. The aim of this paper is to review three approaches conceptually related to positive psychology (self-determination theory, SDT; character strengths and virtues, CSV; acceptancy and commitment therapy, ACT) and compare these to sustainability approaches to well-being and values. First, we critically compare how values are understood, constructed and operationalised within the positive psychology and environmental values literatures. We offer a summary table to detail key concepts (and articles) which sustainability scientists may draw upon in their work against the dimensions of (1) elicitation process, (2) value provider (3) value concept and (4) value indicators. Second, we critically compare how the positive psychology and environmental values literature have considered the intersections between values and well-being. We identify the positive psychology pathways of ‘value activation’ and ‘healthy-values’ as alternative methods for sustainability scientists to consider. Third, we offer future options for the integration of positive psychology and environmental values literatures to deliver interventions which may lead to well-being and sustainability outcomes. We suggest that mindfulness could be applied as a method to clarify and activate values within a nature exposure context, which harnesses the qualities of both disciplines. To demonstrate integrative possibilities, a case example is offered which brings focus to well-being and sustainability outcomes, the intersection of value pathways, and intervention components drawn from both disciplines.
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This is the tenth article in a series that explores the meaning of positive psychology and the importance of applying the latest related research findings, for the wellbeing of the mental health workforce. It will focus on the innovative I-Flourishing and Languishing Opportunities Wheel (I-FLOW) model, which can be applied to mental health nursing from a different perspective to many other frameworks. It positions realistic optimism and flow at its epicentre, suggesting that these are in a constant dynamic state of homeostatic balance. It recognises that wellbeing can be a combination of managing positive and negative feelings, thoughts and behaviours and that this is central to successful navigation of our life experiences. This article will frame the historical context of the model's development as a multi-dimensional concept through a range of positive psychology theorists and their respective frameworks. Finally, it encourages the reader to consider how the application of I-FLOW could be of benefit to them, through increased self-awareness and feedback. The practical tasks provided in the boxes throughout the article will help the reader identify what flourishing and wellbeing means to them and understand how to further develop its transferability through evidence-based, user-friendly exercises.
Chapter
This chapter is aimed at emphasizing the importance of promoting positive functioning in clinical settings. Common technical strategies shared by positive and clinical interventions are discussed. In order to provide clinicians with a toolkit of positive psychology strategies, the main positive psychotherapeutic strategies aimed at promoting positive functioning, that have been developed and tested in clinical trials are described: Well-being Therapy, Quality of Life therapy, Positive Psychotherapy and Strengths based Counseling. Finally, the chapter provides an overview on the beneficial effects of positive interventions, as well as on their possible paradoxical effects. Clinical implications are then discussed, with a special recommendation of integrating psychotherapy research design when testing and implementing positive interventions.
Chapter
This chapter offers a brief overview of various personality traits and models that were found to be linked with happiness and positive functioning. Among these, Cloninger’s psychobiological model and Peterson and Seligman’s character’s strengths model are described, underlying their specificities, as well as their commonalities. A particular emphasis is given to the importance of evaluating and considering positive personality traits together with personality disorders (and their mutual relationships) in the clinical practice. Individuals may present different combinations of strengths and vulnerabilities, and a balanced expressions of positive traits could be considered a manifestation of positive human functioning.
Chapter
This chapter describes how intentional well-being interventions integrate the development of character strengths and activation of positive emotional resources while reducing risks and alleviating symptoms of depression and poor health. The emergence of these interventions reaches back nearly half a century and each layer of development has led to a more robust platform for implementing these approaches. Now, based on the evidence-based principles of positive psychology, these positive interventions help to cultivate hope through a more balanced approach to well-being than traditional deficit-oriented methods of psychotherapy. This chapter looks at the history of development of these interventions and their likely next phase of development.
Article
The present research study sought to develop and validate a character scale – the Comprehensive Inventory of Virtuous Instantiations of Character using a total sample size of 3679 across five studies. In Study 1, character trait items were generated using an integrative classification system. In Study 2, character trait scales were further refined and their factor structure examined, revealing eight higher-order character dimensions or character cores: appreciation, intellectual engagement, fortitude, interpersonal consideration, sincerity, temperance, transcendence, and empathy. Study 3 established convergent validity of character traits with extant measures and discriminability from personality facets, social desirability, and moral cognitive development. Study 4 revealed that character cores were more strongly related to evaluative constructs than personality dimensions. Study 5 demonstrated that character cores predicted performance and psychological well-being outcomes above and beyond personality. The implications of our findings for the assessment and taxonomy of character are discussed.
Article
Aims: After the end of the war and the return of the warriors to the family, due to the stresses of the war and its devastating effect on the spirit and soul of the veterans, the adverse effects of war on the family, especially the spous, continue.The aim of this study was to investigate the mediating role of psychological security in the relationship between optimism and self-compassion with psychological well-being in veteranschr('39') spouses. Instruments and Methods: In this descriptive-correlational study with the path analysis model, 226 veterans’ spouses supported by the foundation of martyrs and veterans affairs of Mashhad were selected by available sampling method in the winter of 2016. The instruments of the study included Reef’s Psychological Well-being Scales, Reis et al.’s Self-Compassion Scales, Scheier and Carver’s Optimism Scale, and Maslowchr('39')s psychological security questionnaire. The data were analyzed by Amos 20 and SPSS 22 software, using Pearson correlation coefficient, path analysis method, and structural equation modeling. Findings: There was a positive and significant correlation between psychological security with optimism and self-compassion, also, there was a positive and significant correlation optimism, self- compassion, and psychological security with psychological well-being (p0.05), but psychological security had a mediating role in the relationship between optimism and self- compassion with psychological well-being. Indices related to the fitting of the path model indicated a fairly favorable fit of the model (p
Article
A total of 30 volunteers were selected based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria using convenience sampling. They were then randomized into the experiment (n = 15) and control (n = 15) groups. The participants responded to Ryff’s Scales of Psychological Well-Being (SPWB) and ENRICH Marital Satisfaction Scale in three stages of pretest, post-test, and follow-up. The experimental group underwent fourteen sessions (90-minute sessions per week) of schema therapy. The repeated measures ANOVA and SPSS-26 were used to analyze the data. Self-healing training improved the elements of psychological well-being and marital satisfaction (p < 0.01).
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This is the third in a series of articles that explores the meaning of positive psychology and the importance of applying the latest research findings for the wellbeing of the mental health workforce. It will focus on character strengths as a positive psychology intervention from its development to present day use and how it is relevant to mental health nursing. The activities provided in the boxes throughout the article will help the reader identify their own strengths and understand how to further develop their transferability to daily work, home life, education and recreation.
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Purpose: Studies that focus on the development of the typology of individual strength profiles are limited. Thus, this study aimed to determine strength profiles with different health outcomes based on the Three-Dimensional Inventory of Character Strengths (TICS). Methods: The TICS was used to measure three-dimensional strengths: caring, inquisitiveness, and self-control. A total of 3536 community participants (1322 males and 2214 females with ages ranging from 17 to 50, M = 23.96, SD = 5.13) completed the TICS. A subsample (n = 853; female = 68.2%, male = 31.8%) was further required to complete the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale and Flourishing Scale. A latent profile analysis (LPA) was conducted in the total sample to identify the latent strength profiles. Then, a three-step method was implemented to compare the mental health outcomes between strength profiles in the subsample. Results: The LPA helped determine two subgroups based on the entire sample: the at-strengths group (high scores on all dimensions) and the at-risk group (low scores on all dimensions). As expected, the at-strengths group had less significant negative emotional symptoms (at-strengths group = 0.57, at-risk group = 0.83, χ2 = 33.54, p < .001) and had better psychological well-being (at-strengths group = 5.81, at-risk group = 4.64, χ2 = 276.64, p < .001). Conclusions: This study identified two character strength profiles with different health outcomes. Specifically, populations with low-character strengths (caring, inquisitiveness, and self-control) were more likely to demonstrate poor mental health outcomes. Our findings also showed that a particular trait subtype can be considered in identifying high-risk populations and further implementing targeted strength-based interventions.
Chapter
In this chapter, I offer a definition of positive mental health based on the concept of positive balance at the developmental level and discuss nine programs of research supporting this definition: hedonic versus eudaimonic happiness; virtue ethics and character strengths; self-determination theory; personal expressiveness; psychological well-being; purpose and meaning in life; authentic happiness and orientations to happiness; flourishing; resilience; and satisfaction of the full spectrum of human developmental needs. The definition is as follows: Individuals characterized as high in positive mental health tend to experience a preponderance of positive psychological traits (personal growth, purpose in life, environmental mastery, autonomy, positive relations with others, etc.) relative to negative psychological traits (pessimism, hopelessness, depressive disorder, neuroticism, impulsiveness, etc.). Following this discussion, I describe how positive balance expressed in eudaimonia (at the developmental level) is produced in part by life satisfaction (at the meta-cognitive level) mediated by a process involving personal growth and intrinsic motivation. Specifically, life satisfaction at the meta-cognitive level mediated by a process involving high personal growth results in high levels of eudaimonia at the developmental level; and conversely, life dissatisfaction mediated by a process involving low personal growth results in low levels of eudaimonia.
Chapter
With the explosion of interest in virtue and virtue ethics, one set of issues that has been comparatively neglected is how to categorize moral character traits. This paper distinguishes three approaches—what I call the Stoic, personality psychology, and Aristotelian—and critically assesses each of them. The Stoic approaches denies that virtues come in degrees. There is perfect virtue or nothing at all. The personality psychology approach denies that virtues have thresholds. So everyone has all the virtues to some degree or other. The Aristotelian approach accepts both degrees and thresholds. So some people might not have the virtues, and if they do, they might have them to various degrees. In addition, each of these positions takes a different stand on how to understand the vices as well. Using the virtue of honesty as the central example, the paper ends up favoring the Aristotelian approach but notes some of the complexities involved in adopting it.
Article
[Clin Psychol Sci Prac 18: 275–299, 2011] Despite decades of research on the etiology and treatment of depression, a significant proportion of the population is affected by the disorder, fails to respond to treatment, and is plagued by relapse. Six prominent scientists—Aaron Beck, Richard Davidson, Fritz Henn, Steven Maier, Helen Mayberg, and Martin Seligman—gathered to discuss the current state of scientific knowledge on depression and in particular on the basic neurobiological and psychopathological processes at play in the disorder. These general themes were addressed: (a) the relevance of learned helplessness as a basic process involved in the development of depression; (b) the limitations of our current taxonomy of psychological disorders; (c) the need to work toward a psychobiological process-based taxonomy; and (d) the clinical implications of implementing such a process-based taxonomy.
Character strengths and virtues
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  • M Seligman
Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. (2004). Character strengths and virtues. New York, NY: Oxford.
What you can change and what you can't
  • M E P Seligman
Seligman, M. E. P. (2007). What you can change and what you can't (2d ed.). New York, NY: Vintage.
Anatomy of an epidemic
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Whitaker, R. (2010). Anatomy of an epidemic. New York, NY: Crown.
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