Date: 19 May 2011

The Relationships Between Temperament, Character Strengths, and Resilience

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Abstract

Although most modern psychologists and researchers agree that both nature and nurture play a role in the development of individuals, much research has focused on the role of nature and nurture in mental illness and has largely neglected investigating the interface of nature vs. nurture in psychological wellness. One psychological construct that focuses on the biological aspect of individuals is temperament. In the current study, the extent to which temperament is associated with character strengths, sense of coherence, and resilience was investigated. This was achieved by administering four self-report questionnaires on a sample of male and female young adults (N = 620) from a tertiary institution. The questionnaires used were the Zuckerman–Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire (Zuckerman, Kuhlman, Teta, Joireman & Kraft, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 65:757–768, 1993), the Values in Action – Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) (Peterson & Seligman, Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification, 2004), the Sense of Coherence Scale (Antonovsky, Unravelling the mystery of health: How people manage stress and stay well. 1987) and the Resilience Scale (Wagnild & Young, Journal of Nursing Measurement 1:165–178, 1993). Both Pearson’s and canonical correlations indicated statistically significant correlations between resilience (measured by the Sense of Coherence Scale and Resilience Scale) and temperament as well as between character strengths and temperament. Furthermore, logistic regression models indicated that dimensions of temperament were able to explain high or low levels of the dimensions of resilience and character strengths well, with percentage correctly predicted for the various models ranging from 64.6% to 76.3%.