Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 293–310 | Cite as

From the Equator to the North Pole: A Study of Character Strengths

  • Robert Biswas-Diener


Recently, psychologists have begun to shift their research attention to positive topics historically overlooked by the profession. The study of character strengths is a major research interest of positive psychologists. A classification of 24 character strengths, called the Values in Action (VIA) Classification, has recently been developed, and the current study evaluates these character strengths across cultures. Among 123 members of the Kenyan Maasai, 71 Inughuit in Northern Greenland, and 519 University of Illinois students, we found high rates of agreement about the existence, desirability, and development of these strengths of character. Despite these strong similarities, there were differences between and within cultures in terms of gender, the perceived importance of specific strengths (such as modesty), and the existence of cultural institutions that promote each strength.


character strengths culture Inughuit Inuit Maasai positive psychology VIA virtue 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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