Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 1347–1361 | Cite as

Character Strength-Based Intervention to Promote Satisfaction with Life in the Chinese University Context

  • Wenjie DuanEmail author
  • Samuel M. Y. Ho
  • Xiaoqing Tang
  • Tingting Li
  • Yonghong Zhang
Research Paper


The present study examined the efficacy of a strength-based intervention program among Chinese undergraduates to increase satisfaction with life. A total of 285 undergraduates enrolled in an 18-week elective course participated in this study. A 2 (informed about the purposes of the intervention vs. not informed about the purposes of the intervention) × 2 (strength-training intervention vs. experiential control) experimental design was adopted. The Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) was completed during week two of the course to obtain the personal character strengths profile of each participant. The Satisfaction with Life Scale was adopted as an indicator for this study. Baseline (2nd week), short-term post-test (9th week), and long-term follow-up (18th week) test scores were obtained. All participants increased their satisfaction with life from the baseline to the peaks after the 6-week interventions, and then showed a slow downward trend. In the short-term, the students who were informed about the purpose of the study, as well as those in the strength-training group exhibited more increase in satisfaction with life. However, in the long-term, only those students in the strength-training group sustained the change in satisfaction with life. Strength-based intervention to promote satisfaction with life among Chinese undergraduates was effective. Placebo effect gradually decreased with the passage of time, and eventually disappeared. The results can facilitate the easy-to-use positive intervention in university context.


Intervention Character strengths Positive psychology Satisfaction with life 



The authors are grateful to Zhihan Yang, Tianyu Duan who helped conducting this study, and thanks Dr. Yu Bai for her suggestions on the research design and early manuscript. A special thanks goes to Professor Qiwen Qin in Southwest University, Chongqing, China, for his critical thinking and concentrated guidance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wenjie Duan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Samuel M. Y. Ho
    • 1
  • Xiaoqing Tang
    • 1
  • Tingting Li
    • 2
  • Yonghong Zhang
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Applied Social StudiesCity University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyNortheast Normal UniversityChangchunChina
  3. 3.School of Culture and Social Development StudiesSouthwest UniversityChongqingChina

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