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The Role of Signature Strengths in Treatment Outcome: Initial Results from a Large and Diverse University Sample


Character strengths are basic psychological ingredients that enable us to act in ways that enhance our well-being and life satisfaction. Despite research linking strength-based behavior to psychological health, few studies have examined their role within treatment. This study utilized a large and diverse sample of treatment-seeking university students to examine three specific questions: 1) what are the relationships between character strengths and symptom, social role, and interpersonal relationship impairment at intake? 2) do character strengths predict treatment outcome? 3) do signature strengths predict number of sessions completed? Participants completed a measure of strengths at intake and an outcome-based measure at intake and at every subsequent psychotherapy session. Results demonstrated the importance of Zest in relation to all subscales, being an excellerator of treatment progress and associated with better and faster treatment outcome and completion. Other findings of note include the protective factor of Love of Learning in this population, the paradoxical relationship between outcome and Persistence, Justice and Perseverance as overall predictors of better outcomes, and Hope as a predictor of less sessions completed. Clinical and research implications are discussed throughout.

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Correspondence to Amanda A. Uliaszek.

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Uliaszek, A.A., Rashid, T. & Zarowsky, Z. The Role of Signature Strengths in Treatment Outcome: Initial Results from a Large and Diverse University Sample. J Contemp Psychother 52, 15–21 (2022).

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