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Integrating psychological strengths under the umbrella of personality science: Rethinking the definition, measurement, and modification of strengths

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Abstract

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.

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... In addition, Muslim women apparently encounter religious and cultural barriers that impact their career advancement (Ahmed, 2008). Psychological strengths serve as enablers during adversity (Goodman, Disabato, & Kashdan, 2019) and exploring their representation at more defined samples could provide a clearer picture of the application of various strengths in work contexts. ...
... As mentioned above, variations of conceptualised strengths have been presented according to themes and categories (Aspinwall & Staudinger, 2003;Carr, 2004;Peterson & Seligman, 2003), but research on strengths has not yet arrived at a unitary taxonomy which clarifies the various forms and expressions of human strengths (Compton, 2005;Goodman et al. 2019). Psychological strengths are generally acknowledged to be stable over time and rooted in personality. ...
... Psychological strengths are generally acknowledged to be stable over time and rooted in personality. It is argued by Goodman et al. (2019) that rather than being a new concept, strengths are an adaptive expression of normal personality traits. For example, positive strength adjectives of being efficient, organised and thorough can be linked to the fivefactor personality trait of 'conscientiousness' and its facets of competence, order, dutifulness, achievement striving and selfdiscipline (Carr, 2004). ...
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Orientation: The nature and representation of psychological strengths is an emerging area of positive psychology. Individual differences occur in strengths profiles between people, which may be attributed to educational, occupational, gender and cultural influences and can be qualitatively explored using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The application of strengths measurement is underway in South Africa, but locally developed, context-specific strengths taxonomies are currently lacking, as well as research linking psychological strengths and leadership. Muslim women in leadership deal with general gender-related leadership challenges as well as specific cultural and religious issues, and the application of psychological strengths may serve as enabling factors. Research purpose: This study aimed to explore and describe the psychological strengths demonstrated by a minority sub-population of South African women leaders in the workplace. Motivation for the study: Psychological strengths are linked to flourishing and well-being. Understanding their representation and their context of application can enhance both the academic literature and organisational practices surrounding them. A minority leadership group of Muslim women were appointed for this study, bearing in mind their particular leadership challenges and the enabling strengths they employ as a point of interest, as possible indicators for future strengths and leadership development initiatives. Research approach/design and method: Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 Muslim women leaders from various employment industries who held senior management or leadership roles. IPA method was used for the analysis and interpretation of the results. Main findings: Interpretative phenomenological analysis of the interview data revealed a taxonomy of 28 psychological strengths, which were categorised as cognitive, emotional, interpersonal, values/motives or behavioural. Practical/managerial implications: The strengths may be focussed on for leadership development and it is recommended that the study should be replicated across various cultural groups to identify and develop the strengths that occur in the diversity of leaders within the South African work context. Contribution/value-add: This exploratory study contributes to the knowledge base of psychological strengths. It also highlights specific strengths to be considered when implementing leadership development programmes, particularly those for Muslim women in South African workplaces.
... There is a consensus that we need to identify protective factors associated with resilience (Bonanno, 2004;Goodman, Disabato, & Kashdan, 2018;Luthar et al., 2000), but less consensus about which factors are most important. The resilience portfolio approach addresses several key limitations of prior work, including the small number of strengths examined in many prior studies. ...
... One surprising result of this study was that, counter to prediction, many of the interpersonal strengths were not correlated with trauma symptoms, even at the bivariate level. Although the social ecology is doubtless important to youth's functioninghere school climate emerged as the most salient factor among interpersonal resourcesthe social ecology may also have underappreciated complexities, and not all strengths are necessarily associated with well-being (Goodman et al., 2018). For example, in the interpersonal domain, peer social support could be harmful if peers are supporting delinquency (Deković, 1999). ...
... The differences in the bivariate and multivariate analyses further support moving beyond piecemeal approaches to assessing strengths in order to better inform prevention and intervention activities. Some frameworks in positive psychology and related fields propose dozens of key strengths, and while all of these are probably helpful in some circumstances, not all of them are equally useful for thriving after adversity (Goodman et al., 2018). It is also important to identify which strengths have unique elements associated with well-being, beyond some general positivity, in order to determine which ones are most helpful. ...
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Although it is well known that victimization is associated with higher trauma symptoms, there is still limited information on the protective factors that can help people thrive after adversity. Using the Resilience Portfolio Model as a framework, this study explores a range of psychological and social strengths in a community sample of youth from the southern U.S. A sample of 440 youth aged 10 to 21 (average age 16.38, SD = 3.04) was recruited from youth-serving organizations. They completed a survey on trauma symptoms, victimization, other adversities, and 16 psychological and social strengths. Almost 9 in 10 (89.3%) youth reported one or more victimizations, with peer victimizations most common. Adult-perpetrated offenses were reported by almost half of youth (47.1%). Although several psychological and social strengths were inversely correlated with trauma symptoms at the bivariate level, hierarchical regressions indicated that a sense of purpose was the only strength that uniquely contributed to more resilient mental health in a model with all strengths and controlling for victimization, other adversities, poverty, age, and gender (total R² = .33). The variance explained by strengths (17%) was similar to the variance explained by adversities (15%). In this highly victimized sample of youth, many strengths were associated with lower trauma symptoms for youth, with a sense of purpose showing the most promise. Prevention and intervention programs may benefit from efforts to increase a sense of purpose or other meaning making activities, in addition to efforts that specifically target incidents of trauma.
... Our hope is that people appreciate slow, methodical science based on carefully constructed questions and methods. No theory, measure, or scientific study is beyond scrutiny (even the ideas of iconic scientific figures can be questioned; Goodman et al., 2019Goodman et al., , 2020. Scrutinize inspiring work because of a motivation to build stronger, reliable, generalizable discoveries. ...
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Much has been discovered about well-being since 1998, when positive psychology entered the lexicon. Among the wide range of areas in positive psychology, in this commentary we discuss recent discoveries on (1) distinctions between meaning in life, a sense of purpose, and happiness, (2) psychological or personality strengths and the benefits of particular combinations, and (3) resilience after exposure to adversity. We propose a series of questions about this literature with the hope that well-being researchers and practitioners continue to update their perspectives based on high-quality scientific findings and revise old views that rely on shaky empirical ground.
... Corporate culture is described by Appelbaum et al. [1] as a collection of characteristics of an organization that contribute to the organization's overall mood or environment, implying that it is a highly contextual concept. In this regard, the scholars equate an organization's organizational culture to a person's personality, in which personality psychologists such as Goodman, Disabato, and Kashdan [9] summarize a collection of beliefs, interaction and communication patterns, and fundamental personality characteristics for organizations and their culture, which Denison [6] describes similarly. Corporate culture is increasingly playing a supporting role in organizations, as summarized by Ramdhani, Rahmdhani, and Ainisyifa [15] "Corporate culture is one of a determinant factor in enhancing to achievement of organizational goals and objectives. ...
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This paper investigates in open innovation, organizational culture, internal and external collaboration and the steps which are necessary to establish a culture of open innovation in the company. Open innovation is one of the most relevant topic in research and development. The research results concentrate on, how leaders can shape a corporate culture and environment in which open innovation processes are embrace and can implemented successfully. Innovation processes have a high risk factor. This is precisely why it is crucial to create a corporate culture that is open to failure and also accepts less successful attempts. The attitude of the management is one of many key factors.
... Other strengths and traits researchers (Noftle et al., 2011;see Park, 2018 andNoronha &Campos, 2018 for samples of empirical studies conducted between strengths and traits) have also empirically established the connection or relationship between strengths and traits. Most recently, Goodman et al. (2019) proposed for the integration of psychological strengths under the umbrella of personality science, and arguing that the term "personality strengths" can be used instead of "character strengths" since the former term is grounded with an empirical definition, rather than a subjective one. The most commonly held view on the nature of strengths is that they are essentially context-sensitive and do not operate in isolation (Hodges & Clifton, 2004;Biswas-Diener, et al., 2011;Ruch & Proyer, 2015). ...
Presentation
This paper is an integration of paradox theory and the paradoxical lens into strengths regulation as an alternative way to enable optimal performance. Various conceptualizations around strengths, talents, and traits are discussed to provide a sound theoretical framework. The nature and characteristics of strengths, as well as its ‘dark side,’ are likewise elaborated to explain the use of various strengths regulations, their features and limitations. The central theme of the paper is its introduction of a novel approach called “paradoxical strengths regulation,” where an old concept such as paradox finds a new way of application to the science of positive psychology. The use of paradoxical strengths regulation can help advance positive psychology’s ultimate goal of contributing to optimal human functioning. Keywords: #strengths, #talents, #traits, #paradox, #paradoxtheory, #goldenmean, #dialecticism, #paradoxicalstrengthsregulation
... En la línea de los resultados obtenidos están los trabajos de Lopez, Pedrotti y Snyder (2018), Snow (2019) y Wolfteich, Sandage, Tomlinson, Mettasophia y Ventura (2019), que aluden a la fortaleza de la espiritualidad como un recurso humano poderoso que se relaciona directamente con la construcción de sentido vital, ya que ella actuaría como un elemento que ayuda a los individuos a tener mayor conciencia de sí y, al mismo tiempo, como una dimensión que les posibilita auto trascenderse. Por lo mismo, las virtudes de humanidad y trascendencia contribuyen a que el ser humano sea capaz de relacionarse con los demás y el entorno a partir de ciertas comprensiones que tienden hacia la benevolencia universal y la superación del egocentrismo (Goodman, Disabato, & Kashdan, 2019). ...
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... Koydemir & Schütz, 2012;Krueger & Stone, 2014) and the field of positive psychology in general. For example, character strengths like humility are difficult to measure by cause of confounds with positive self-esteem or subjective well-being (Goodman, Disabato, & Kashdan, 2018). And research on the prosocial effect of gratitude is often limited by self-report methodologies as well (Tsang, 2006). ...
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The relation of morality to indigenous psychology (IP) is examined from four different yet complementary viewpoints. Basically, a western metaperspective is taken. First, the topic of morality is dealt with on a content level: If social scientists (as a first approximation) conceive of IP as a psychology that aims at understanding, explaining, and predicting people’s behavior within specific cultures, then cultural rule systems, which are normative frameworks for individual behavior, can be understood as the core and the main differentia specifica of such a psychology. Morality is one of these rule systems, both in the tradition of cultural relativism and cultural pluralism. The crucial question of whether or not morality is culture specific (indigenous) or universal is discussed. Second, the role of morality in the emergence of IPs is treated at the science of science level. Certainly this is not the place to add to the discussion about what the concept of IP means and how this conception differs from cross-cultural psychology (CCP) as well as cultural psychology (CP), which has become salient during the last decade. Yet, if one deals with the topic of IP, one has to define one’s own position, and a moral perspective will be used to develop such a position. Third, a slightly strange argument is developed based on the fact that particularly from an IP perspective, research on culture does not just serve an analytical function (answering the question “What is culture?”), but treats culture as a characteristic of a group. It is postulated that this conceptualization of cultures as more or less homogeneous entities has moral implications. Finally, basic methodical implications are discussed, though they are also addressed in the previous sections. It is postulated that the general
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