Frequently Asked Questions

What are character strengths?

Character strengths are positive traits - capacities humans have for thinking, feeling, and behaving in ways that benefit oneself and others. Specifically, they are the psychological ingredients for displaying virtues or human goodness. VIA views each person as having a capacity for expressing any of the 24 character strengths in the VIA Classification. Some strengths are easier and more natural for the individual to express (e.g., signature strengths), other strengths arise in particular situations where they are needed (phasic strengths), and other strengths are expressed to a lesser degree or lesser frequency (lesser strengths).  
• Character strengths have individual differences. Each is distinct from one another.
• Character strengths are plural, meaning they interact and influence each other. 
• Character strengths are generally stable, but they can change over time. 
• Character strengths are shaped by context. They do not operate in isolation from settings, proximal and distal, in which people are found. Character strengths are within people and people are within settings. Settings cannot fall to the background when focusing on character strengths. 


Further questions?

Contact the VIA Institute: 

The VIA Institute on Character
312 Walnut Street, Suite 3600
Cincinnati, OH 45202
VIA's Communications Specialist Kelly Aluise: