offered a podium presentation (variation) 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

Character Strengths Predict Academic Achievement, Positive Experiences, And Positive Relationships At School Above Intelligence And Big Five Personality Traits (#103)

Lisa Wagner 1 , Willibald Ruch 1
  1. University of Zurich, Zürich, ZüRICH, Switzerland

In this study, we establish the associations of the 24 character strengths of the VIA classification (Peterson & Seligman, 2004) with flow experiences and positive relationships at school (with classmates and teachers). We extend previous findings by demonstrating the incremental predictive validity of character strengths beyond the most powerful cognitive and non-cognitive predictors of academic achievement, general mental ability, and Big Five personality traits.

Secondary school students (N = 190; 46% male; mean age = 14.5 years) completed self-reports of character strengths and Big Five personality traits, as well as school satisfaction, flow at school, and positive relationships with classmates and teachers (twice, three months apart). They also completed a test of general mental ability at baseline.

Results indicate that most of the 24 character strengths showed meaningful associations with at least one of the outcomes, while many character strengths predicted the outcomes even above the influences of general mental ability and the Big Five. Overall, love of learning, perseverance, and fairness showed the most consistent relationships across the outcomes.

Overall, these results suggest that character strengths are relevant constructs when studying the link between individual differences and achievement, positive experiences, and relationships at school.