Research Paper

Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 275-292

First online:

Testing Strengths-Based Interventions: A Preliminary Study on the Effectiveness of a Program Targeting Curiosity, Gratitude, Hope, Humor, and Zest for Enhancing Life Satisfaction

  • René T. ProyerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Zurich Email author 
  • , Willibald RuchAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Zurich
  • , Claudia BuschorAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Zurich

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The study compares the impact of character strengths-based positive interventions in a sample of 178 adults. An experimental group that trained strengths of the Values-in-Action classification that typically correlate highly with life satisfaction (curiosity, gratitude, hope, humor, and zest) was compared in its gain in life satisfaction with a group that trained strengths that usually demonstrate low correlations with life satisfaction (appreciation of beauty and excellence, creativity, kindness, love of learning, and perspective) and a wait-list control group. If pre and post measures in life satisfaction were compared, the group with the strengths most correlated with life satisfaction improved significantly (statistically) in their satisfaction in comparison to a control group. This could be interpreted as support for the idea that primarily those strengths that correlate highly with life satisfaction should be addressed in strengths-based interventions. When asked for subjective ratings of well-being after the interventions concluded, participants in both intervention groups indicated gains above that of a wait-listed control group. Further analyses underscore the special role of self-regulation in facilitating success in the interventions. Overall, the data underline the potential of strength-based interventions for improving human well-being.


Character strengths Positive psychology Positive interventions Strengths based intervention VIA-IS