Symposium 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

The Overuse, Underuse, And Optimal-Use Of Strengths (#147)

Ryan M. Niemiec 1
  1. VIA Institute on Character, Cincinnati, OHIO, United States

Can we have too much of a good thing? “Yes, we can,” says research, over and over. Such strength imbalances and strength problems have much to teach us. This presentation will offer the latest thinking on the concepts of overuse and underuse as well as the golden mean or optimal-use of strengths. Early empirical findings drawing connections between character strengths and particular psychopathologies as well as aspirations will be shared. An example or two of optimal-use will be offered as well as key strategies for working with strengths overuse and underuse (referred to as the tempering effect and the towing effect). While the research that has emerged in the last two years is more empirical research on the topic than all the preceding years combined, the contribution of this theoretical and empirical work has only scratched the surface. Substantial potential and wide-reaching implications await.