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The Eudaimonics of Human Strengths: The Relations Between Character Strengths and Well-Being

Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)

Abstract

The present chapter was aimed at presenting an overview of the findings on the relations between character strengths and well-being. In order to get a broader picture about these relations, not just eudaimonic well-being but also hedonic well-being was considered. Within the scope of the chapter at hand, focus was on subjective well-being as indicator of hedonic well-being as well as on psychological well-being as indicator of eudaimonic well-being. Following the definitions of these constructs, research findings on the correlations between character strengths and well-being (i.e., subjective well-being: positive affect, negative affect, and global life satisfaction; psychological well-being: environmental mastery, personal growth, purpose in life, autonomy, self-acceptance, and positive relationships) are presented. None of the character strengths systematically showed a correlation coefficient that indicated a detrimental relation between a strength and (indicators of) subjective and psychological well-being. On the contrary and as expected, character strengths seem to be important individual factors facilitating well-being. Across all indicators of well-being (i.e., subjective well-being and psychological well-being) zest, hope, and curiosity were the most substantial correlates among the character strengths. Moreover, in addition to zest, hope, and curiosity, further character strengths were relevant for specific indicators of subjective well-being and psychological well-being as well. In-depth interpretations of the most important relations are presented and discussed. Finally, concluding remarks and open questions are presented, and future directions for research are discussed.

Keywords

  • Character strengths
  • Subjective well-being
  • Psychological well-being
  • Hedonism
  • Eudaimonia
  • Hedonic well-being
  • Eudaimonic well-being
  • Happiness

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Notes

  1. 1.

    On a more nuanced level, domain specific satisfactions (e.g., with work, family or self) can be distinguished as well (cf. Diener et al., 1999). However, this will not be of interest in the present chapter.

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Harzer, C. (2016). The Eudaimonics of Human Strengths: The Relations Between Character Strengths and Well-Being. In: Vittersø, J. (eds) Handbook of Eudaimonic Well-Being. International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-42445-3_20

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