Strengths of character, orientations to happiness, and life satisfaction

The Journal of Positive Psychology

Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice

Volume 2, 2007 – Issue 3

Why are certain character strengths more associated with life satisfaction than others? A sample of US adults (N = 12,439) completed online surveys in English measuring character strengths, orientations to happiness (engagement, pleasure, and meaning), and life satisfaction, and a sample of Swiss adults (N = 445) completed paper-and-pencil versions of the same surveys in German. In both samples, the character strengths most highly linked to life satisfaction included love, hope, curiosity, and zest. Gratitude was among the most robust predictors of life satisfaction in the US sample, whereas perseverance was among the most robust predictors in the Swiss sample. In both samples, the strengths of character most associated with life satisfaction were associated with orientations to pleasure, to engagement, and to meaning, implying that the most fulfilling character strengths are those that make possible a full life.