Summary of Research Findings
The dynamics of character strengths remains a new area of study. One model for looking at the dimensionality of character strengths is to place each strength on a continuum in which too much of a strength in a particular context becomes overuse, too little is underuse, and the center area is the “strengths zone” or optimal expression (i.e., golden mean) of the strength.
- Too much (overuse) and too little (underuse) of character strengths use can have a negative impact on well-being and other important factors (for a review, see Grant and Schwartz, 2011).
Grant, A. M., & Schwartz, B. (2011). Too much of a good thing: The challenge and opportunity of the inverted u. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 61-76.
- Support was found that managers/leaders tend to overdo their talents (not character strengths) and to a lesser degree underuse their talents (Kaiser & Overfield, 2011).
Kaiser, R. B., & Overfield, D. V. (2011). Strengths, strengths overused, and lopsided leadership. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 63 (2), 89-109.
- Philosophical article offering insights for the science of character around the types of character, plurality of character, and the concept of unity of character (Fowers, 2008).
Fowers, B. J. (2008). From continence to virtue: Recovering goodness, character unity, and character types for positive psychology. Theory & Psychology, 18 (5), 629-653.
- In a theoretical paper, the argument is made that the VIA character strengths should not be treated independently from one another, should be cautioned from overuse, and that a “master” strength of practical wisdom is needed in order to effectively deploy strengths (Schwartz & Sharpe, 2006).
Schwartz, B., & Sharpe, K. E. (2006). Practical wisdom: Aristotle meets positive psychology. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7, 377-395.
- Emphasizes the importance of all 24 strength and development and balance among the range of virtues referred to as the “unity of character” (Fowers, 2008).
Fowers, B. J. (2008). From continence to virtue: Recovering goodness, character unity, and character types for positive psychology. Theory & Psychology, 18(5), 629-653.