Seligman (2011) provided a new framework of well-being encompassing five dimensions of well-being: Positive emotions, Engagement, positive Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment (forming the acronym PERMA). He also argued the character strengths underlie all five dimensions. However, the role of character strengths in this framework has not been studied to date.
This set of two studies examines the relationships of character strengths and the orientations to well-being in two cross-sectional studies (Study 1: N = 5,521). Study 2 (N = 172) also took informant-reports into account and used different questionnaires to address a possible method bias. Participants completed validated assessments of character strengths and the PERMA dimensions.
Results of Study 1 showed that all character strengths were positively related to all PERMA dimensions, but there were differences in the size of the relationships. Accomplishment, for example, showed the strongest contribution to strengths such as perspective, persistence, and zest, whereas for positive relationships, strengths such as teamwork, love, and kindness were the best predictors. These findings were largely confirmed by informant reports in Study 2.
The results provide support for the notion that character contributes to all dimensions of well-being and could be used to guide the development of strengths-based interventions.