Background A number of studies indicated that strengths use has a stronger relationship with well-being than strengths knowledge (e.g., Govindji & Linley, 2007). However, little studies have been reported the relationship between those and mental illness. A growing body of research suggests that mental health should be comprehensively measured both well-being and mental illness (Suldo et al., 2011). Therefore, this study investigated the effect of strengths knowledge and use on life satisfaction and depression.
Method The study sample consisted of 502 Japanese adolescents (Mage = 13.50 years, SDage = .88) who completed measures of Strengths Knowledge Scale, Strengths Use Scale, Student’s Life Satisfaction Scale, and Depression Self-Rating Scale for Children.
Results A hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed that only strengths use was a significant predictor of life satisfaction (β = .12, p < .05) after controlling for depression, whereas both strengths use (β = - .11, p < .05) and knowledge (β = - .19, p < .01) were significant predictors of depression beyond the effects of life satisfaction.
Conclusions The finding supports past research that strengths use is more important than knowledge for well-being. Moreover, this study suggests that both strengths knowledge and use can ameliorate depression during adolescence.