Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 333–350 | Cite as

Towards Youth Happiness and Mental Health in the United Arab Emirates: The Path of Character Strengths in a Multicultural Population

  • Eleni Petkari
  • Margarita Ortiz-Tallo
Research Paper


Happiness, good mental health and the possession of character strengths have been proposed in the context of positive psychology as important conditions for achieving a life full of gratification. However, there is a scarcity of studies examining those conditions in Eastern cultural contexts, in order to replicate findings from the Western countries. In this vein, the present study aims to explore the influence of strengths on happiness and mental health in the multicultural context of United Arab Emirates and it is hypothesised that certain strengths are better predictors of happiness and mental health than others, also after controlling for potential sociodemographic confounders. A sample of young university students, in the majority coming from eastern countries was assessed through the Global Happiness Scale, the GHQ-12 and the VIA-IS-120. The results of the regression analyses revealed that the group of character strengths under the denomination of Transcendence together with being young was associated with higher levels of happiness and better mental health. In addition, the possession of strengths of Restraint was associated with less happiness, whilst being a man indicated a better mental health. Such results have important implications regarding the replication of previous results from Western contexts in the context of UAE, highlighting the need for implementation of culturally context-tailored strategies for achieving happiness and mental health through the use of character strengths.


Happiness Mental health Character strengths UAE Cultural traits VIA-IS 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Humanities and Social SciencesEuropean University of CyprusNicosiaCyprus
  2. 2.School of Science and TechnologyMiddlesex University DubaiDubaiUAE
  3. 3.School of PsychologyUniversity of MalagaMalagaSpain

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