Frequently Asked Questions

I took the VIA Survey six months ago and then took it again this week. I found the results were quite different between the two. Do the results change a lot over time?

First, one must look at the raw scores for each strength (these are given in the VIA reports such as the VIA Pro or the VIA Me, but do not appear in the free rank-order report). This is ultimately what helps to determine if there is even a change (e.g., there might be ties among the #5 strengths or minimal differences in scores, e.g., a .2 difference between the #5, 6, and 7 strengths). A couple of these phenomena and the rank-order results can appear different.

Knowing that, practitioners helping others should also know that the VIA Survey has good reliability which means it is repeatable over time – individuals are likely to receive similar results. The general idea is that people will receive consistent responses over time because this gets at the core of who we are – whether we are stressed, in the midst of turmoil, at our best, feeling down, etc. Now, that’s not to say that if you grow significantly in your self-understanding that your strengths will not change. But, it won’t be changes such as your top 5 become your bottom 5 and vice versa. Any time a new strength pops into the top 5 that should be treated with curiosity and attempts should be made to understand what in one’s life or one’s self-view might account for that shift. It is important to look at the general grouping of the strengths ranking and the raw scores. Strengths within groupings may shuffle around a bit, for example, your top 10 strengths might have a few strengths switch places in the top 10.


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: