Character Strengths and Job Satisfaction: Differential Relationships Across Occupational Groups and Adulthood

  • Sonja HeintzEmail author
  • Willibald Ruch


Character strengths are a central construct within positive psychology, and their importance for the workplace was supported recently. Little is known, however, which strengths matter the most at the workplace. The aim of the present investigation was thus to assess the relationship between the level of the 24 character strengths with overall job satisfaction in a general working population (N = 12,499) as well as in eight occupational subgroups (nurses, physicians, supervisors, office workers, clinical psychologists, social workers/educators, economists, and secondary-school teachers) and in six age groups (from 18 to 61+ years) and to compare the overall level of character strengths across the eight occupational subgroups. Results showed that, similar to life satisfaction, zest, hope, curiosity, love, and gratitude, and emotional strengths in general, related most strongly to overall job satisfaction. However, the relationships of the strengths with job satisfaction differed depending on the facet of job satisfaction, the occupational subgroup, and the age group under study. Knowing which individual strengths as well as strengths factors are more important for specific working populations can help to develop and apply more effective strength-based interventions in the workplace, thus improving positive and reducing negative work-related outcomes.


Character strengths Job satisfaction VIA classification Person-job fit Workplace Intervention 



This publication was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant number 172’723). The authors would like to thank Julia Moser, Moritz Meyer, and Andreas Dahlmann for their help in coding the occupational subgroups, and Olenka Dworakowski for her help in the analyses.


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Copyright information

© The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section on Personality and Assessment, Department of PsychologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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