Character Strengths’ Change During COVID-19

Sahar Amoury Naddaf, Shiri Lavy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 had negative effects on individuals and nations worldwide. However, based on literature suggesting that crises can trigger growth, we propose that it may have also triggered individuals’ character strengths development, especially among those having experienced moderate levels of difficulty during the pandemic and having received social support. The participants’ (N = 1700) 24 character strengths were assessed twice: before and during COVID-19. At the second assessment, participants also reported the level of impact COVID-19 had on their lives, and their perceived social support. MANOVA analysis revealed a general increase in character strengths, with significant – but mainly negligible or small - increases in 17 strengths: appreciation of beauty and excellence, bravery, prudence, creativity, curiosity, fairness, gratitude, honesty, hope, judgment, kindness, leadership, perspective, self-regulation, social intelligence, spirituality, and zest. Across the 24 strengths, the reported level of COVID-19’s impact (i.e., low, moderate, or high) was not associated with different changes during the pandemic. Univariate analyses showed that such changes were significant only in curiosity, forgiveness and kindness. The multivariate effect of social support on changes in character strengths was significant. Specifically, it enhanced the increase in love, prudence, curiosity, forgiveness, gratitude, honesty, hope, judgment, leadership, humility and zest during COVID-19, although the interactions effect sizes were small. The results suggest that, in the time frame examined in this study, character development processes triggered by COVID-19 were evident, yet specific changes in strengths were relatively mild. Some of these processes may have been enhanced by social support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-210
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Volume24
Issue number1
Early online date5 Nov 2022
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.

Keywords

  • COVID-19 Crisis
  • Character Strengths
  • Character Strengths Change
  • Character Strengths Development
  • Social Support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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