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The relation of character strengths, engagement coping and life satisfaction among students

Wiepking, Lennart (2020) The relation of character strengths, engagement coping and life satisfaction among students.

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Abstract:Background. In the field of positive psychology, character strengths have been related to effectively dealing with adversity, but little research on the relationship between strengths and coping behaviour has been conducted so far. This study sought to advance the understanding of how engagement coping relates to character strengths and life satisfaction among students. It was assumed that engagement coping shows an association with character strengths and that engagement coping mediates the relation of zest, hope, curiosity and love with life satisfaction. Methods. A cross-sectional online survey was employed, whereby a convenience sample of 118 university students filled in the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA), the Coping Inventory Strategies Short Form (CSI-SF) and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). Correlations of engagement coping with character strengths were computed on the level of higher-order strengths and on the level of the 24 character strengths. A series of regression analyses was carried out to test for a mediation effect of engagement coping on the relation of zest, hope, curiosity and love with life satisfaction. Results. All higher-order strengths showed positive correlations with engagement coping. At the level of the 24 character strengths, six strengths showed a significant positive correlation with engagement coping, whereby love showed a substantially higher association than all other strengths. Regression analyses revealed that engagement coping partially mediates the relation of zest and life satisfaction, fully mediates the relation of curiosity and life satisfaction and shows no mediation effect for the strengths of hope and love. Discussion. The results of the study are discussed in light of possible causal mechanisms, including Fredrickson’s broaden-and-build theory. Some character strengths might elicit positive feelings that broaden one’s cognition and attention, leading to enhanced personal resources and emotional wellbeing. Caution is advised in the interpretation of the results. The cross-sectional study design did not allow to make definite causal claims and the results might have been affected by methodological shortcomings and the far-reaching consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Implications of the results follow for student-focused strength-based interventions. Character strengths that are assumed to positively influence engagement coping should be emphasised in strength-based interventions.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/81676
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