, 1:4,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 24 Oct 2011

The virtuousness of adult playfulness: the relation of playfulness with strengths of character



It was hypothetisized that playfulness in adults (i.e., the predisposition to play) is robustly associated with the "good character." Playfulness in adults can be tested via a global cognitive evaluation and an instrument for distinguishing five different facets of playful behaviors (spontaneous, expressive, creative, fun, and silly). Character strengths can be assessed within the framework of the Values-in-Action (VIA) classification of strengths.


Data were collected in an online study and the sample consisted of 268 adults. A regression analysis revealed that adult playfulness was best predicted by humor, the appreciation of beauty and excellence, low prudence, creativity, and teamwork. As expected, single strengths (e.g., creativity, zest, and hope) demonstrated strong relations with facets of playfulness with its fun-variants yielding the numerically highest relations. The fun-variant of playfulness was most strongly related with emotional strengths while intellectual strengths yielded robust relations with all facets of playfulness. Strengths of restraint were negatively related with spontaneous, expressive, and silly-variants of playfulness.


The findings were in line with expectations and are discussed within a broader framework of research in playfulness in adults. The results indicate that playfulness in adults relates to positive psychological functioning and that more studies further illuminating the contribution of playfulness to well-being in adults are warranted.