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The Journal of Positive Psychology: Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice
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Character strengths in fifty-four nations and the fifty US states
Nansook Park , Christopher Peterson & Martin E. P. Seligman
a b c a b c

University of Rhode Island, USA University of Michigan, USA University of Pennsylvania, USA

Version of record first published: 18 Feb 2007

To cite this article: Nansook Park, Christopher Peterson & Martin E. P. Seligman (2006): Character strengths in fifty-four nations and the fifty US states, The Journal of Positive Psychology: Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice, 1:3, 118-129 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439760600619567

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This name-calling is echoed across international divides as well. University of Michigan.edu ISSN 1743-9760 print/ISSN 1743-9779 online/06/030118–12 ß 2006 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10. 2University of Michigan. gratitude. participants in the cultural war make judgments about their own character and those of their opponents. human nature. Within the larger world. Greenberg. Ann Arbor. 1993). USA. 2003. We hear US leaders characterize the country’s opponents as cowards who hate freedom. and the apathy of the 1990s. & MARTIN E. we investigated the relative prevalence of 24 different strengths of character. according to national polls. conservatives see liberals as permissive hedonists who are intent on plunging the country into ‘‘evil’’ (Hannity. and self-regulation.g. 2004). it is the leaders and pundits who have become increasingly extreme in their words and deeds. Political pundits speak about a cultural war being waged in the world today. But whatever the evaluation. After detours through the narcissism of the 1970s. whereas these same US leaders are branded by their opponents as satanic warmongers.1080/17439760600619567 . fairness. red versus blue states. modesty. Adams. and the lesser strengths included prudence. the contemporary USA is facing a character crisis on many fronts. Our results may reveal something about universal human nature and/or the character requirements minimally needed for a viable society. July 2006. 1997. 1(3): 118–129 Character strengths in fifty-four nations and the fifty US states NANSOOK PARK1. The details of this crisis seem to depend on the observer. for example. USA Abstract In a web-based study of 117. P. referring to a clash between traditional (conservative and/or religious) and contemporary (liberal and/or secular) values. within-US comparisons After all there is but one race—humanity. honesty.676 adults from 54 nations and all 50 US states. & Pope. whereas liberals see conservatives as narrow-minded bigots who are ‘‘lying liars’’ (Franken. Abrams. Tel: 7347646567. 2003). MI 48109 1109. USA. White. To judge from best-selling books in the USA. The profile of character strengths in the USA converged with profiles based on respondents from each of the other nations. Qureshi & Sells. The most commonly-endorsed strengths in the USA were kindness. the cultural war is variously depicted as involving US versus European sensibilities or Judeo-Christian versus Islamic value systems (e. Except for religiousness.g.. the cultural war is framed in terms of the competing beliefs of those who live in the red (Republican) versus blue (Democratic) states that entered public awareness in the aftermath of the 2000 US presidential election (e. Instead. and the opposing side is bad. from the playground to the classroom to sports to entertainment to politics (Public Agenda. Department of Psychology. Downloaded by [José Quadros] at 20:31 24 July 2012 Keywords: Character strengths. Another point of view holds that we are neither as polarized nor as morally dissimilar as polemics suggest (Fiorina. and judgment. E-mail: chrispet@umich. the materialism of the 1980s. cross-national comparisons. 525 East University. or is there an essential set of virtues shared by most people in most places? Psychology’s interest in strengths of character has been rekindled by positive psychology. What about the facts of the matter? Do geopolitical distinctions (i. Within the USA.e.. and 3University of Pennsylvania. CHRISTOPHER PETERSON2. the other side is regarded as morally different. Moore (1900) Introduction Good character is essential for individuals and societies to thrive.. and we see growing research literatures devoted to a variety of Correspondence: Christopher Peterson. people in the USA today believe that character indeed is important. USA versus Europe versus other regions) cleave people at the level of basic character strengths.The Journal of Positive Psychology. 2004. USA. comparisons within the US sample showed no differences as a function of state or geographical region. One’s own side in this conflict is of course good. SELIGMAN3 1 University of Rhode Island. 2005). Pells. 1999). However. as many commentators have argued. Regardless of the battlefield. 2003).

feelings. Humanity: interpersonal strengths that involve ‘‘tending and befriending’’ others. & Seligman. modesty: letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves . religiousness: having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of life positive traits (McCullough & Snyder. we have been involved in a project that attempts to identify ubiquitouslyacknowledged strengths of character and ways of measuring them (Peterson & Seligman. empirically-grounded classification of . & Seligman. All of the strengths are ubiquitously valued. creativity: thinking of novel and productive ways to do things . bravery: not shrinking from threat. . and we can therefore rank order them within a nation or state. perspective: being able to provide wise counsel to others 2. Biswas-Diener (in press) confirmed that instances of these same core virtues were recognized and esteemed. Third. temperance. and/or skilled performance in all domains of life . teamwork: working well as member of a group or team 5. challenge. Peterson. We can also score them absolutely. Wisdom and knowledge: cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge. humor: liking to laugh and joke. Our classification includes 24 different strengths of chaacter classified under six core virtues and makes possible nuanced descriptions (Table I). persistence: finishing what one starts . 119 Downloaded by [José Quadros] at 20:31 24 July 2012 1. 2005. Within these traditions. forgiveness: forgiving those who have done wrong . . leadership: organizing group activities and seeing that they happen . we devised measures of character strengths that have demonstrable reliability and promising validity (Park & Peterson. courage. First. excellence. hope: expecting the best and working to achieve it . which allow comparisons within the individual among greater and lesser strengths. 2005). external or internal. in press. The profiles of character strengths in other nations was examined. In focus groups with the nonliterate Maasai (in Western Kenya) and Inughuit (in Northern Greenland). each of which exists in degrees. gratitude: being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen . bringing smiles to other people . 2005. A non-arbitrary. These measures ask individuals to endorse character strengths as more versus less descriptive of their own thoughts. 2004). which means that comparisons across strengths are not confounded by a global response set of social desirability. Second. Justice: civic strengths that underlie healthy community life. We can score our measures ipsatively. Our own examination of widely influential religious and philosophical traditions found that certain core virtues were widely valued (Dahlsgaard. The present paper describes what we have learned about character strengths and their geographical distribution. zest: approaching life with excitement and energy 3.Character strengths Table I. honesty: speaking the truth and presenting oneself in a genuine way . appreciation of beauty and excellence: noticing and appreciating beauty. and conclusions of some generality can potentially be drawn. self-regulation: regulating what one feels and does 6. there was near universal acceptance of the virtues of wisdom. Temperance: strengths that protect against excess. we approached good character as a family of positive traits. topics. difficulty. humanity. and actions. Transcendence: strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning. Classification of character strengths. guided by the perspective of positive psychology. social intelligence: being aware of the motives and feelings of self and others 4. justice. . Park. fairness: treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice . 2006). We have become concerned with how each of the strengths is ranked in different societies. love: valuing close relations with others . 2000). love of learning: mastering new skills. Strengths of character that are arguably culturebound were excluded. and bodies of knowledge . not saying or doing things that might later be regretted . . Which strengths were most prevalent in different regions of the USA and which were least prevalent was determined. curiosity: taking an interest in all of ongoing experience . For the past several years. or pain . those physically and/or culturally close to the USA as well as those more distant. Courage: emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition. Peterson. . kindness: doing favors and good deeds for others . prudence: being careful about one’s choices. and transcendence. . we arrived at this family of character strengths by identifying core virtues recognized across world cultures and throughout history. judgment: thinking things through and examining them from all sides . Our project has several notable features.

shown in a handful of common values and virtues displayed by most people in most societies because these dispositions are needed for a group to survive and thrive (Bok. These studies establish that certain virtues and strengths are widely recognized. The purpose of this study was to determine which components of character are most and least commonly endorsed and to see whether this pattern is different or similar across geographical and cultural contexts. Schwartz. they were about 40 years of age. The almost universal reliance by psychology researchers on samples from single settings precludes regional comparisons within the same study.. regional stereotypes concerning strengths of character are also held nearly and dearly by many of us. Another perspective holds that different strengths come to the fore in different places for idiosyncratic cultural and historical reasons. a respondent received immediate feedback about his top five strengths. and behaviors. ranging from less than high school to post-baccalaureate. the VIA-IS is a self-report questionnaire that uses a 5-point Likert-scale to measure the degree to which respondents agree that strength-relevant statements describe themselves (from 1 ¼ ‘‘very much unlike me’’ to 5 ¼ ‘‘very much like me’’). Within the USA (and other nations). We speak approvingly of small town kindness as well as big city sophistication.120 N. We speak of national character (Inkeles & Levinson. We presume that respondents come to the website to learn more about positive psychology as well as about themselves. It is obvious that people in different parts of world differ from one another on a host of specific values. there were more females than males (72% versus 28%). The typical age of US respondents was 40 years of age.’’ In their search for general principles and basic processes. The typical level of educational attainment for US respondents was a few years of college. and many had college degrees (26%). 1994). Downloaded by [José Quadros] at 20:31 24 July 2012 Measure Intended for use by English-reading adults. 1993. Anthropologists. The VIA-IS is presented on this website only in English. One perspective posits a pervasive human nature. respondents were more educated. Rozin. Meta-analyses might allow samples from different parts of the USA to be compared and contrasted across studies. The resulting sample was 71% from the USA (N ¼ 83. Method ubiquitously-recognized character strengths thus seems possible (Bennett. political scientists. ‘‘a large state university’’ or ‘‘an urban community Research participants The sample consisted of all adult respondents who completed the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) on the Authentic Happiness website (www. 1995. There are 10 items for each of the 24 strengths of character in the VIA . these are rarely the focus of explicit investigation1. Relative to the US population as a whole. Although the possibility of regional variation in psychological characteristics is sometimes acknowledged. Park et al.com) between September 2002 and December 2003.887 respondents from about 200 other nations.576). economists. Only respondents from the 54 nations with at least 20 respondents were included in the analyses reported here (N ¼ 117. but this is a different issue than which of these character strengths are relatively common or relatively rare in terms of a respondent’s self-description. attitudes. except for the convention of identifying the source of research participants only in vague terms: e. After completing the VIA-IS on-line. we know very little. 2001. MacIntyre. Researchers in these traditions are no more likely than the rest of us to highlight effect sizes. This perspective suggests that not only will a set of strengths be ubiquitously recognized. on average. whereas individualistic Western cultures are densely populated by leaders (whether or not anyone follows them). 2003). Comte-Sponville. Among our US adult respondents. ranging from 18 to 65 plus.authentichappiness. and cross-cultural psychologists have amply demonstrated such differences. but that their rank order of prevalence within a setting will be much the same from place to place. In terms of regional similarities or differences within the same nation. Peabody 1985) and may believe for example that collectivist Asian cultures are comprised of individuals who are excellent teammates. Also represented were 34. and we believe that this feature may motivate participants. investigators seem to regard their samples not simply as convenient but ultimately as interchangeable. The non-US respondents were also predominantly female (62%). although in many cases there are strong disciplinary inclinations to stress what is culturally specific over what is common. sociologists. only the first set of scores was used. which means that respondents needed to be English readers.g. For the relatively small number ($1%) of respondents who completed the measure more than once.676) (Table II). which means that the magnitude of statistically significant differences in cultural specificity receives little emphasis. mental health center. and most were college-educated (68%). 1969. 1984.

48) (3.61) (3.70) (3.84) (3.01) (3.Character strengths Table II.13) (3.66) (3.55) (3.67) (3.96) (4.03) (3.91) (3.91) (3.94 – 5 1 4 6 2 7 9 3 10 11 12 13 14 15 8 16 17 19 18 21 20 22 23 24 (3.89) (4.77) (4.17) CA 9504 0.94 5 3 6 9 4 8 10 2 7 11 13 15 12 14 1 17 16 18 21 24 20 19 23 22 (3.75) (3.78) (3.92) (3.73) (3.91 0.83) (3.90) (3.93) (4.32) AU 5977 0.47) (3.81) (3.66) (3.91) (3.59) (3.53) (3.99) (3.61) (3.62) (3.34) (3.79) (3.53) (3.60) (3.81) (4.75) (3.84) (4.76) (3.08) (3.65) (3.46) (3.95 5 2 6 11 1 8 9 4 7 10 12 13 14 17 3 16 15 19 18 24 20 21 22 23 (3.65) (3.94 5 2 6 14 1 7 11 3 9 8 13 12 10 17 4 15 16 20 18 24 19 21 22 21 (3.87) (3.91) (3.68 0.35) (3.89) (3.51) (3.86) (3.64) (3.78) (3.41) (3.66) (3.50) (3.98) (3.65) (3.61) (3.48) (3.72) (3.99) (3.86) (3.42) (3.59) (3.42) (3.05) (4.93 0.58) (3.75) (3.37) (3.94) (3.52) (3.80 0.98) (3.89) (3.22) (3.63) (3.67) (4.68) (3.62) (3.67) (3.76) (3.98) (3.81 0.56) (3.25) (3.47) (3.55) (3.98) (3.40) (3.81) (3.54) (3.72) (3.78) (3.56) (3.83) (3.68) (3.53) (3.86) (3.65) (3.99 5 1 4 7 2 8 12 3 9 11 10 14 13 15 6 16 17 20 18 23 19 21 22 24 (3.97 5 1 6 8 2 7 14 3 9 10 12 13 11 16 4 17 15 19 18 24 20 21 22 23 (3.80) (3.59) (3.38) (3.93) (3.33) (3.83 0.83) (3.92 6 3 5 14 2 6 12 1 10 8 11 9 15 18 4 13 16 20 17 24 19 21 23 22 (3.90) (3.74) (3.43) (3.12) (3.54) (3.59) (3.80) (3.99) (3.66) (3.98) (3.72) (3.64) (3.66) (3.01) (3.23) (3.50) (3.49) (3.65) (3.50) (3.84) (3.30) 121 NL 1481 0.74) (3.41) (2.87) (3.70) (3.82) (3.22) DE 490 0.96) (3.03) (3.77) (3.98) (3.80) (3.82) (3.48) (3.85) (3.32) (3.18) (3.92) (3.37) (3.97) (3.45) (3.37) (3.82) (3.42) ES 261 0.30) (continued ) .68) (3.87) (3.91 7 4 6 14 2 9 10 1 5 8 12 11 13 16 3 15 17 20 19 24 18 21 23 22 (3.47) (3.32) (3.32) (3.61) (3.92 3 1 2 6 4 7 12 5 9 8 10 11 16 21 13 14 19 17 18 15 20 23 22 24 (4.81) (3.74) (3.65) (3.71) (4.03) (3.99) (3.66) (3.77) (3.79 0.92) (3.75) (3.99) (3. Weighted Nation N  with weighted US profile  with US profile kindness fairness honesty gratitude judgment love humor curiosity beauty creativity perspective social intelligence leadership teamwork learning bravery forgive hope industry religiousness zest prudence modesty self-regulation Nation N  with weighted US profile  with US profile kindness fairness honesty gratitude judgment love humor curiosity beauty creativity perspective social intelligence leadership teamwork learning bravery forgive hope industry religiousness zest prudence modesty self-regulation US 83576 – 0.83) (3.66) (3.94) (3.15) (3.78) (3.66) (3.43) (3.50) (3.54) (3.60) (3.30) NZ 1491 0.74) (3.45) (3.71) (3.59) (3.53) (3.71) (3.50) (3.68) (3.38) (3.79) (3.68) (3.57) (3.74) (3.77) (3.84 0.62) (3.71) (3.37) (3.62) (3.65) (3.39) (3.68) (3.63) (3.79) (3.57) (3.68) (3.74) (3.85) (3.73) (3.69) (3.00) (3.83) (3.85) (3.71) (3.86) (3.65) (3.97) (4.36) (3.63) (3.36) (3.02) (4.57) (3.88) (3.30) SE 170 0.91) (3.69) (3.70) (3.75) (3.49) (3.94) (3.69) (3.40) (3.79) (3.21) SG 172 0.38) (3.30) (3.92) (3.01) (3.86) (3.73) (3.79 8 3 4 12 1 9 15 7 6 10 11 16 13 14 5 17 18 19 20 23 2 21 22 24 (3.60) (3.84 0.85) (3.75) (3.53) (3.49) (3.87) (3.50) (3.60) (3.77) (3.61) (3.15) (3.30) (3.70) (3.96) (3.82) (3.68) (4.45) (3.03) (3.59) (3.82) (3.06) (4.94) (3.48) (3.81 0.25) ZA 323 0.68) (3.90) (3.57) (3.80) (3.93) (3.03) (3.92 5 3 6 14 1 8 11 4 7 9 12 10 15 16 2 13 19 20 17 24 18 21 22 23 (3.98) (3.91) (3.66) (3.55) (3.68) (3.78) (3.96 5 3 6 10 2 7 14 1 8 9 11 13 12 17 4 15 16 19 20 24 18 21 22 23 (3.73) (3.77) (3.56) (3.94) (3.83) (3.74) (3.59) (3.65) (3.66) (3.65) (3.87) (3.85 0.00) (3.81) (3.74) (3.61) (3.94 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 (3.85) (3.41) (3.91) (3.48) (3.73) (3.08) (3.76) (3.24) Downloaded by [José Quadros] at 20:31 24 July 2012 IE 515 0.86 0.39) BE 190 0.67) (3.41) (3.65) (3.99) (3.76) (3.79) (3.52) (3.53) (3.77) (3. Strengths profiles.01) (3.58) (3.62) (3.62) (3.28) (3.83) (3.58) (3.94) (3.90) (3.85) (3.27) UK 11125 0.58) (3.53) (3.67) (3.50) (3.67) (3.91) (3.00) (3.77) (3.45) (3.21) (3.84) (3.02) (3.51) (3.43) (3.90 5 1 7 16 2 6 11 3 13 8 9 10 14 17 4 12 15 20 18 24 19 22 23 21 (3.82) (3.06) (4.79) (3.65) (3.27) US 83576 0.80) (3.

45) JP 79 0.01) (3.80) (3.79 0.00) (3.79 0.97) (3.87) (4.69) (3.75) (3.41) (3.95 4 1 5 9 2 7 12 6 10 14 8 16 11 13 3 17 15 19 18 24 21 20 22 23 (3.81) (3.64) (3.49) (3.34) (3.84) (3.38) (3.55) (3.03) (3.59) (3.32) NO 77 0.28) (3.64) (3.80) (3.87) (4.04) (4.50) (3.69) (3.77 0.76) (3.66) (3.72) (3.67) (3.48) (3.50) (3.81 0.48) (3.74) (3.06) (3.67) (3.71 0.06) (3.57) (3.63) (3.33) (3.97) (3.79) (3.91) (3.06) (3.85) (3.06) (4.28) .42) (3.48) (3.31) CV 66 0.79) (3.53) (3.59) (3.02) (3.41) UY 74 0.85) (3.62) (3.92 6 2 4 7 3 5 12 1 15 11 13 10 8 19 3 16 14 17 20 24 18 21 23 22 (3.68) (3.78) (3.54) (3.20) (3.07) (3.70) (3.62) (3.66) (4.64) (3.57) (3.94) (4.66) (3.84) (3.61) (3.97) (3.36) (2.63) (4.43) IT 100 0.72) (3.54) (3.83) (3.02) (3.94) (3.53) (3.82) (3.78) (3.84 9 4 6 18 2 8 11 1 14 5 7 10 12 16 3 13 15 19 20 23 17 22 24 21 (3.74) (3.87) (3.28) (3.38) (2.71) (3.77) (3.95) (3.72) (3.80) (3.76) (3.54) (3.23) (3.37) (3.86) (3.33) (3.85) (3.20) (3.53) (3.83) (4.65) (4.90) (3.86 7 2 8 14 1 11 9 4 6 3 10 15 17 16 5 13 12 20 22 24 19 18 21 23 (3.11) (3.04) (3.61) (3.32) (3.64) (3.19) (3.80) (3.46) (3.83) (3.92 8 3 7 5 4 9 16 1 6 10 12 14 13 11 2 15 20 18 19 21 17 24 23 22 (3.76) (3.70) (3.78) (3.82) (3.87) (3.56) (3.77 0.90 6 2 8 10 4 11 13 3 5 7 12 16 9 14 1 17 15 21 20 24 18 19 22 23 (3.73) (3.75) (3.53) (3.85) (3.25) Downloaded by [José Quadros] at 20:31 24 July 2012 HU 98 0.15) (3.88 8 1 5 7 3 4 22 2 10 14 13 12 9 11 6 17 16 15 19 18 20 21 23 24 (3.61) (3.72) (3.70) (3.72) (3.75) (3.85) (3.60) (4.45) (3. Park et al.69) (3.80) (3.91) (3.90) (3.83 0.83) (4.72) (3.64) (3.55) (3.67) (3.94) (3.63) (3.11) (3.74) (3.42) (3.57) (4.71) (3.79) (3.03) (4.62) (4.01) AR 91 0.43) (3.36) (3.55) (3.53) (3.65) (3.74) (3.98) (3.93) (3.65) (4.71) (3.77) (3.74) (3.39) (3.76) (3.81 0.58) (3.57) (3.76) (3.48) (3.67) (3. Weighted Nation N  with weighted US profile  with US profile kindness fairness honesty gratitude judgment love humor curiosity beauty creativity perspective social intelligence leadership teamwork learning bravery forgive hope industry religiousness zest prudence modesty self-regulation Nation N  with weighted US profile  with US profile kindness fairness honesty gratitude judgment love humor curiosity beauty creativity perspective social intelligence leadership teamwork learning bravery forgive hope industry religiousness zest prudence modesty self-regulation FR 156 0.41) (3.75) (4.09) (3.85) (3.33) CH 110 0.77) (3.71) (3.85) (4.88) (3.47) (3.93) (3.63) (3.57) (3.28) (3.70) (4.50) FI 132 0.78) (3.46) (3.58) (3.49) (3.70) (4.61) (3.84) (3.04) (3.59) (3.05) (3.47) (3.35) (3.75) (3.84 8 1 2 6 4 14 16 3 7 11 9 17 12 15 5 18 21 13 19 10 22 20 23 14 (3.44) (3.77) (4.89) (3.70) (3.64) (3.10) (2.82) (3.86 0.73) (4.33) (3.88) (3.03) (3.11) (4.66) (3.42) MX 88 0.92 7 3 5 9 4 6 14 1 10 8 11 12 13 20 2 18 19 15 16 24 21 17 22 23 (3.92) (4.15) (3.01) (3.40) (3.80) (3.39) (3.48) (3.82) (3.08) (3.65) (3.88) (3.60) (3.01) (3.95) (3.87) (3.01) (3.30) HK 115 0.95 6 4 5 8 1 9 14 2 7 10 12 13 11 17 3 15 18 21 16 24 20 19 22 23 (3.86) (3.67) (4.54) (3.18) (3.75) (3.34) (3.94) (3.36) (3.86) (3.25) (3.76) (3.56) (3.35) (3.29) (3.60) (3.77) (3.76) (3.04) (3.45) (3.04) (3.79) (3.76) (3.79 0.93 6 1 5 14 4 7 13 3 8 10 11 12 9 16 2 17 15 19 18 24 20 21 23 22 (3.78) (3.98) (3.84) (3.90) (3.92) (3.63) (3.95) (3.51) (3.30) (3.60) (3.97) (4.56) (3.55) (3.73) (3. Continued.81) (3.86 0.83) (3.91) (3.81) (3.96) (3.74) (3.13) (3.90) (3.78) (3.35) (3.90) (3.73) (3.53) (3.49) (3.84) (3.43) (3.79 0.62) (3.29) (3.94) (4.54) (3.72) (3.95 7 5 2 10 1 6 13 3 8 16 9 11 12 15 4 14 17 18 19 20 22 21 24 23 (3.91) (4.122 N.90 5 3 8 11 6 9 13 2 4 7 15 12 10 17 1 14 16 20 19 24 18 21 22 23 (3.56) (3.11) (3.05) (3.24) IN 135 0.90 5 1 7 16 2 6 11 3 13 8 9 10 14 17 4 12 15 20 18 24 19 22 23 21 (3.68) (3.55) (3.25) (3.85) (3.61) (3.83) (3.53) (3.38) (3.70) (3.80) (3.33) (3.76) (3.12) (3.94) (3.95) (3.02) (3.47) (4.97) (3.79) (4.87) (4.80 0.10) (3.01) (3.44) AT 107 0.82) (3.94) (3.45) (3.75) (3.45) (3.67) (3.11) (3. Table II.88) (3.47) (3.76 0.79) (3.66) (3.86) (3.74) (3.75) (3.59) (3.71) (3.67) (3.82) (3.70) (3.

59) (3.73) (3.69) (3.71) (3.98) (3.92) (3.01) (3.06) (4.67) (3.52) (4.94 5 6 8 4 1 9 11 2 7 10 14 16 12 13 3 18 15 17 21 24 19 20 23 22 (3.62) (3.06) (3.87 6 4 8 15 2 13 11 3 7 5 9 12 10 16 1 14 17 19 18 23 21 20 22 24 (3.04) (3.91) (3.95) (4.52) (3.28) CN 36 0.51) (4.69) (3.07) (3.02) (3. Weighted Nation N  with weighted US profile  with US profile kindness fairness honesty gratitude judgment love humor curiosity beauty creativity perspective social intelligence leadership teamwork learning bravery forgive hope industry religiousness zest prudence modesty self-regulation Nation N  with weighted US profile  with US profile kindness fairness honesty gratitude judgment love humor curiosity beauty creativity perspective social intelligence leadership teamwork learning bravery forgive hope industry religiousness zest prudence modesty self-regulation IL 60 0.03) (3.68) (3.69) (3.78) (4.72) (3.56) (4.08) (3.13) (3.83) (3.33) (3.45) (4.55) (3.89) (3.71) (3.65) (3.66) (3.95) (3.92) (3.58) (3.59) (3.54) (3.12) (3.70) (4.77) (3.75) (4.92) (3.01) (3.85) (3.68) (3.24) BR 41 0.93 7 2 9 10 4 5 14 1 8 6 11 13 12 16 3 17 15 19 20 22 18 21 24 23 (3.01) (3.65) (3.80) (3.88) (4.07) (3.81) (3.37) (3.82 9 6 7 12 4 5 13 1 14 2 8 11 18 20 3 15 16 17 19 23 10 22 24 21 (3.61) (3.47) (3.11) (3.89) (4.61) (3.46) (3.26) 123 MY 49 0.76) (3.86) (3.20) (3.82) (3.51) (3.59) (3.12) (3.41) (3.67) (3.97) (3.89) (3.63) (3.81) (3.64) (3.80) (3.69 0.95) (3.41) (3.79) (3.10) (3.60) (3.63) (3.73) (3.79) (3.55) (3.10) (3.90) (3.79) (3.09) (3.82) (3.73) (3.74) (3.62) (3.48) (3.93 3 1 8 9 2 7 10 6 4 11 14 12 13 18 5 19 20 16 17 23 15 21 22 24 (3.97) (3.80) (3.95) (4.76) (3.34) (3.37) UZ 46 0.54) (3.60) (3.31) KY 57 0.08) (3.85) (3.17) DK 52 0.68) (3.72 0.86) (3.03) (3.79) (3.37) (3.69) (4.68) (3.45) (3.69 0.47) (3.85) (3.61) (4.61) (3.26) (3.39) BS 34 0.82) (3.99) (3.90) (3.86) (3.79) (3.78) (3.81) (3.01) (3.54) (3.51) (3.94) (3.60) (3.90) (3.71) (3.64) (3.27) (3.37) (3.29) (3.44) (3.64) (3.71 0.87) (3.75) (3.88) (3.46) (3.94) (3.76) (3.70) (3.87 0.81) (3.68) (3.04) (3.73 0.52) (3.84 14 2 7 5 1 8 17 4 6 12 9 16 10 11 3 19 18 15 22 13 20 23 21 24 (3.80) (3.29) (continued ) .82) (3.86) (3.45) (3.99) (3.21) (3.75) (3.90) (4.02) (3.54) (3.77) (3.92 5 4 7 8 2 10 14 1 9 6 11 17 12 19 3 13 16 20 15 23 18 21 22 24 (4.63) (3.90 8 1 5 7 2 9 17 4 10 6 11 15 18 12 3 13 20 16 14 22 19 21 24 23 (3.47) (3.86) (3.08) (3.86) (3.55) (3.41) (3.69) (3.82 0.88) (3.68) (3.48) (3.52) (3.28) AZ 44 0.85) (4.70) (3.79) (3.53) (3.95) (3.86) (3.80) (3.60) (3.38) Downloaded by [José Quadros] at 20:31 24 July 2012 VE 47 0.88) (3.71) (3.79 6 4 10 17 1 13 12 3 9 7 11 8 15 18 2 14 5 21 16 24 19 20 23 22 (3.78) (3.Character strengths Table II.64) (3.55) (3.84 0.75) (3.59) (3.47) (3.79) (3.75) (3.48) (3.90) (3.93) (3.75) (3.61) (3.47) (3.50) (3.71 0.03) (4.71) (4.35) (3.80 0.52) (3.04) (3.47) (3.59) (3.71) (4.84 8 5 7 3 2 11 20 4 6 9 10 18 12 19 1 13 17 14 16 22 15 21 23 24 (3.63) (4.21) (3.38) (3.75) (3.55) (3.46) (3.75) (3.64) (3.71) (3.87) (3.25) (3.65) (3.67) (3.95) (3.27) HR 56 0.98) (3.82) (3.95) (3.06) (3.61) (3.33) AE 39 0.90) (3.59) (3.49) (3.14) (3.64) (3. Continued.63) (3.00) (4.02) (4.62) (3.51) (3.25) (3.99) (3.66) (3.44) (3.45) (3.00) (3.44) (3.00) (3.59) (3.64) (3.93 5 1 6 10 4 7 12 2 9 8 14 15 16 17 3 13 11 20 19 24 18 21 23 22 (3.86) (3.28) (3.86) (3.68) (3.54) (3.68) (3.62) (3.66) (4.72) (3.34) (3.88) (3.84 8 1 4 9 2 12 14 5 7 6 13 20 10 11 3 23 21 15 19 17 22 16 18 24 (3.52) (3.93) (3.63) (3.92) (3.55) (3.49) (3.96) (3.79 0.77) (3.07) (3.98) (3.84) (3.49) (3.75) (4.02) (3.62) (3.27) PH 55 0.74) (3.90) (3.83) (3.87) (3.80) (4.61) (3.78 14 2 9 8 1 4 16 12 3 10 5 6 13 17 7 19 15 11 22 20 21 18 23 24 (3.92) (4.74) (3.94 11 4 9 7 5 12 17 3 6 2 10 14 13 15 1 8 20 18 19 21 22 16 24 23 (3.81) (3.83) (3.69) (3.30) (3.88) (3.51) (4.95) (3.53) (3.90) (4.66) (4.44) (3.62) (3.79) (3.58) (3.94) (3.96) (3.45) GR 53 0.63) (4.02) (3.75) (3.87) (4.75) (3.80 0.80) (3.66) (3.65) (3.66 0.81) (3.49) (3.57) (3.78) (3.82) (3.94) (4.44) (3.07) (3.95) (3.81) (3.77) (3.78) (3.76 0.80) (3.35) (3.88) (3.63) (3.92) (3.11) (3.16) (3.69) (3.76) (3.

63) (3.29) (3.71) (3.85 0.78) (3. BH ¼ Bahrain.79) (3.75) (3.82) (4.41) (3.79) (3.98) (4.42) (3.64) (3.65 0.47) (3.82) (3.60) (3. FR ¼ France.89) (4.15) (4. PL ¼ Poland.69) (3.69) (3.01) (3.23) (3.26) (3.88) (3.64) (3.59) (3.79) (3.66) (3. NI ¼ Nicaragua.75) (3. TW ¼ Taiwan.66) (3.52) TW 24 0. Park et al.93) (3.84) (3.38) (3.70) (3.15) (4.73) (3. although ties were used in calculating the reported  coefficients.32) (2.57) (3.88) (4.82) (3.52) (4.40) (3. NZ ¼ New Zealand.58) (3.88) (3.55) (3.35) (3.00) (3. MY ¼ Malaysia.95) (3.65) (3. HU ¼ Hungary.06) (3. NG ¼ Nigeria.83 0.21) (3.21) Notes: Figures in parentheses are raw mean scores.61) (3. CH ¼ Switzerland.82) (3.49) (3.96) (4.11) (3.63) (3.53) (3.20) (3.43) (4.67) (3.83 9 3 4 11 1 16 14 5 7 6 10 15 12 17 2 8 22 18 13 21 20 19 24 23 (3.79) (3.89) (3. CA ¼ Canada.83) (3.85 6 1 4 16 2 8 17 5 9 7 10 11 15 19 3 13 14 18 12 22 23 20 21 24 (3.04) (3.41) CZ 21 0.85) (3.73) (3.20) (3.48) (3. Continued.57) (3.81) (3.56) (3.39) (3. HK ¼ Hong Kong. ZA ¼ South Africa.46) (3.13) (3.78) (3. CF ¼ Central African Republic.78) (3.51) (3.98) (3.67) (3. NL ¼ Netherlands.73) (3. AZ ¼ Azerbaijan.53) (3.85) (3.46) (3.70) (3. UZ ¼ Uzbekistan.62) (3.09) (3.124 N. NO ¼ Norway.72 0.58) (3.67) (3.60) (3. BS ¼ Bahamas. IE ¼ Ireland. VU ¼ Vanuatu.53) (3.65) (3.57) (3.78) (3.81 4 1 2 14 3 6 20 8 7 10 9 11 12 16 13 5 15 18 19 21 17 24 22 23 (4.73) (4.43) (3.74) (3.33) (3.81) (3. DE ¼ Germany. Ranks shown in table do not reflect tie scores.65) (3.44) (3.42) (3.98) (3.83) (3.61) (3.77) (3.68 0.86) (3.64) (3. HR ¼ Croatia.49) (3.33) (3.84) (3.73) (3.48) (3.45) (3.42) (3.72) (3.89) (3.32) PL 21 0.54) (3.72 0.46) (3. AR ¼ Argentina.64) (3.86) (3.77) (3.51) (3.69) (3.96) (3.87) (3.03) (3.01) (4.72) (3.28) (3.06) (3.41) CL 25 0.37) (3.00) (3.50) (3. CH ¼ China.73) (3. IL ¼ Israel.90) (4.74) (3.47) (2.19) TR 27 0. BE ¼ Belgium.90) (4.73 12 11 3 14 6 8 15 2 7 1 9 10 13 16 5 4 22 20 17 21 18 24 19 23 (3.19) Downloaded by [José Quadros] at 20:31 24 July 2012 BH 21 0.81) (4.36) (3.40) (3.74) (3.51) (3.93) (3. KY ¼ Cayman Islands.84 9 7 8 5 4 6 12 3 2 11 10 14 23 18 1 13 16 15 21 22 19 20 24 17 (3.66) (3.78 0.09) (3.25) (3.97) (3.55) (4.82) (4.54) (3. FI ¼ Finland.80) (4.71) (3.94) (3.07) (3.88 5 1 4 11 3 15 10 8 6 9 7 13 14 17 2 12 16 20 21 24 18 19 22 23 (3.67) (3.38) (3.95) (3.02) (3.83 8 4 5 9 1 6 16 3 7 12 10 21 15 23 2 18 17 13 11 20 19 14 22 24 (3. GR ¼ Greece.06) (3.95) (3.45) (3.86) (4.71) (3. DK ¼ Denmark.76) (3. Country abbreviations are as follows: AE ¼ United Arab Emirates. SG ¼ Singapore.38) (3.64 0. AT ¼ Austria.61) (3.87) (3.71) (3.90) (3.41) (3.61) (3.92) (3.41) (3.74) (3.97) (3.83) (3. SE ¼ Sweden.84) (3.79) (3. UY ¼ Uruguay.31) (3. BR ¼ Brazil.90) (4.80 0.30) (3. IN ¼ India.62) (3.64) (3.06) (3.10) (3.78) (3.97) (3.07) (3.68) (3. JP ¼ Japan.63) (4.81) (3.64) (3.03) (3.30) (3.58) (4.80) (3.05) (3.98) (4. Weighted Nation N  with weighted US profile  with US profile kindness fairness honesty gratitude judgment love humor curiosity beauty creativity perspective social intelligence leadership teamwork learning bravery forgive hope industry religiousness zest prudence modesty self-regulation Nation N  with weighted US profile  with US profile kindness fairness honesty gratitude judgment love humor curiosity beauty creativity perspective social intelligence leadership teamwork learning bravery forgive hope industry religiousness zest prudence modesty self-regulation CF 32 0.79) (4.66) (3. MX ¼ Mexico.10) (3. PT ¼ Portugal.15) (3.42) (3.94) (3.42) (3.75) (3. PH ¼ Philippines.13) ZW 21 0.40) (3.52) (3.70 0.19) (3.20) PT 20 0.63) (3.36) (3.65) (3.96) (3. US ¼ United States. Table II.00) (3. ZW ¼ Zimbabwe.23) (3.56) (3.86) (3.85) (3.50) (3.85) (3.88) (3.14) (3. IS ¼ Iceland.84) (3.80 4 8 2 14 3 7 16 5 11 6 9 13 15 18 1 10 22 19 17 24 12 23 20 21 (3.74 0.59) (3.02) (3.32) NG 24 0.60) (3. CV ¼ Cape Verde.62) (3.51) (3.64) (3.40) (3.83) (3.68) (3.57) (3. VE ¼ Venezuela.36) (3. CZ ¼ Czech Republic.58) (3.04) (3.72) (3.40) (3.78) (4.97) (3.76) (3.93 7 2 5 9 1 8 11 3 15 5 10 12 13 17 6 14 16 19 22 23 21 18 20 24 (3.98) (3.71 0. AU ¼ Australia.99) (3.59) (3.77) (3.92) (3.33) IS 24 0. .90 7 4 5 8 1 11 16 2 6 10 9 13 12 14 3 17 21 15 20 24 22 18 19 23 (3.40) (3.83) (3.73) (3.92) (3.71) (3.31) (3.33) (3.65) (3.37) (3.21) (3.54) (3. ES ¼ Spain. TR ¼ Turkey. 82 7 4 12 15 5 8 11 1 6 3 14 9 13 18 2 10 19 16 20 21 17 23 24 22 (3.38) (3.03) (3.61) (3.83) (3.57) (3.42) (3.01) (3. CL ¼ Chile.75 6 4 16 8 1 17 14 5 3 7 10 11 9 15 2 18 12 19 24 20 22 13 23 21 (3.03) (3.09) (3.06) (3. IT ¼ Italy.50) (3.59) (4.82) (3.19) NI 21 0.56) (3.45) VU 23 0. UK ¼ United Kingdom.87) (3.88 6 1 5 4 3 2 15 8 7 19 13 14 11 12 9 16 10 23 18 24 20 17 21 22 (3.19) (3.40) (3.65) (3.32) (3.87) (3.87) (3.81) (3.78) (4.81 0.03) (3.87) (3.10) (3.50) (3.22) (3.68) (3.62) (3.81) (3.85) (3.19) (3.48) (3.72) (3.12) (3.50) (4.91) (3.71) (3.94) (3.51) (3.

we did not ask respondents about their ethnicity. Regardless. Puerto Rico. and humor. including age. Inspection of the raw scores in Table II shows that there were overall (cross-strength) differences in the scores from nations. How unique is this particular rank-order profile when compared to other nations? We computed profiles of strengths. & Seligman. as we have found in other comparative studies (Matthews.576 US respondents. Scandinavian nations were marginally more similar to one another than they were to other nations. Higher (weighted) strength scores were found for kindness. We weighted the US sample by state of residence. Rather. Bailey. test–retest correlations for all scales over a 4-month period are substantial and in almost all cases approach their internal consistencies (r s ffi 0. and. and then compared these to the US profile. (b) stability. and educational attainment. Park. Kelly. the District of Columbia. We did not weight the samples from other nations. and especially self-regulation. Guam. but none of these analyses suggested a right or even a reasonable number of clusters. The correlation between the ranking of the 24 weighted and unweighted mean scores. providing basic demographic information. fairness. gratitude.5). & Peterson. Although we weighted scores by a respondent’s state of residence. because these two character strengths are the ones most highly correlated with education (r s ¼ 0.001).27. But the data as a whole lead us to stress the similarity among the nations in our study. 2006). modesty. any two means that differ by 0. estimated by Spearman’s  (rank-order) correlation coefficient.Character strengths Classification (total 240 items). we believe that they reflect national idiosyncrasies in how respondents treat the anchors of rating scales. and New Zealand.001). ranging from a low of 0. For example. 2006. perhaps because the unweighted US sample more closely approximated the typical educational level found in the other samples. Because this website was intended for international use. Peterson & Seligman. We tried to cluster the nations in our study using both raw and ranked scores.01 or more are statistically different (p < 0. All of the resulting Spearman  coefficients were statistically significant (p < 0. Otake. with a variety of clustering algorithms and different end rules.70). gender. self-nomination of strengths correlate substantially with the matching scale scores (r s > 0. The differences in the rankings were mostly the result of relatively lower scores for curiosity and for love of learning in the weighted sample.94. 2004). More interesting were the occasional departures of a given strength for a given nation from the typical ranking of strengths found worldwide (e. age. nationality. for the 83. Eid. was 0. postal zip code.3). honesty. It is not plausible to take these differences at face value and conclude that nations differ in their overall virtue. the high ranking of zest for Singapore). the United States of America Virgin Islands. 2005. and (d) validity. all scales have good reliabilities ( > 0.3 Does the incidence and rank order of character strengths differ across the 50 US states? The rank Downloaded by [José Quadros] at 20:31 24 July 2012 . (c) validity. and those with APO (military) zip codes. but these may well be random and in any event need to be investigated more systematically in future studies before any conclusions are warranted. again using Spearman’s  correlations. Results What strengths of character are most and least common? The first column of Table II presents weighted mean scores for each strength. arranged from highest to lowest.95. gender.2 Given the size of the sample. Australia. Briefly: (a) reliability. The number of respondents from a state correlated highly with the actual state population (r ¼ 0. both weighted and unweighted. Shimai.19 and 0. Details concerning the reliability and validity of the VIA-IS are presented elsewhere (Peterson.001). judgment. adjusting the weighted sample size to be equal to the unweighted sample size. from top (¼ 1) to bottom (¼ 24). Park. ratings by friends or family members of a respondent’s top strengths correlate moderately with the matching scale scores for most of the 24 strengths (r s ffi 0.census. and educational attainment to agree with population estimates for adults (age 18 and over) from the 2000 US Census (www. Peterson. for the 53 other nations in our sample.g. and the same was true for the United Kingdom. if from the USA. & Seligman. educational level. We excluded respondents from American Samoa.90 (Table II).70). the rank order of self-attributed strengths of character was similar across all nations in these comparisons. 125 Procedure Respondents first registered on the website. Coefficients using the unweighted US profile in all cases exceeded those using the weighted profile.64 for the US–Poland comparison to several that exceeded 0. Specific groupings of nations of course emerged that made intuitive sense.gov). p < 0. gender. much the same relative rankings were found using raw scores. age. as shown in the second column of Table II.. Zip codes were used to classify US respondents as residing in one of the 50 states. and lower scores were found for strengths of temperance: prudence. love. respectively).

effect sizes were uniformly very small (median  square ¼ 0.. Considering the very large sample size. Researchers today accept that the magnitude of correlation coefficients has little intuitive meaning. and Pacific states. that respondents from more southern states scored somewhat higher than did respondents from more northern states. but they go beyond our initial supposition that these strengths are widely acknowledged to show that they are rank ordered to similar degrees within the USA and around the world. and (c) norms for fairness and procedural justice in cases of conflict regarding positive duties and/or negative injunctions. People everywhere see themselves as possessing the same interpersonal strengths yet relatively lacking the same strengths of temperance. correspond to what Bok (1995) identified as the universal values minimally necessary for a viable society: (a) positive duties of mutual care and reciprocity. honesty. All exceeded 0. The entries in the VIA classification were intentionally tilted toward ubiquitously recognized strengths. there are greater and lesser strengths of character. We repeated the longitude analyses by partialling out latitude and the latitude analyses by partialling out longitude. 1992) and repeated these analyses.018).4 We looked at the longitude (north–south) and latitude (east–west) correlates of the different strengths for respondents from the 48 states in the continental USA by assigning average values for each state corresponding to the geographical balancingpoint for that state. eclipsing minor regional differences in religiousness. Although increasingly common in psychological research. at least as far as moral self-description goes. The most commonly self described strengths are. The character strengths of kindness. although discussion has usually focused on correlations that ‘‘seem’’ small but are really not (Meyer et al. Red state respondents scored somewhat higher on religiousness than did blue state respondents. again.001). and John (2004) found that Internet methods were as reliable and valid as more traditional strategies of gathering data. a study by Gosling. Respondents from Southern.70. The only effect size greater than 0. the largest effect size was again for religiousness but still extremely small ( square ¼ 0.001). and self-regulation. which are necessarily drawn from the smaller subset (<50%) of the US population that has ever attended college.007). and the lowest in order from the bottom are prudence. Midwestern. The largest correlation was r ¼ À0.011). we believe that our findings may generalize at least as well as those from studies using typical psychology subject pool samples. When we grouped states into larger geographical regions (Zelinsky. The US profile converged with those of 53 other nations in our sample. and most were above 0. love. gratitude. extremely small) only for religiousness ( square ¼ 0. Ozer & Gjerde. Vazire. our results suggest that we are all on the same side. One obvious limitation is our use of Internet samples. (b) negative injunctions against deceit and betrayal. Although this is the first study of its kind to provide insights about strengths of character across all states of USA and dozens of countries around the world. we found statistically significant differences ( p < 0.010). kindness. and furthermore that Internet samples were usually more diverse. samples obtained from the Internet may have problems with generalizability. In each case. in order. The present patterns confirm our intuitions. modesty. whereas slightly lower scores were found for states in the northeastern and western USA. No new conclusions were suggested. meaning. there are several possible limitations to be considered.90 (all p < 0. Are we committing a different sort of error by regarding the  coefficients reported here as apparently more substantial than they are (cf. Downloaded by [José Quadros] at 20:31 24 July 2012 . 2003). We took a closer look at strength scores across states in a series of one-way ANOVAs with state as the independent variable and each of the 24 strengths in turn as the dependent variable. Rank order profiles also converged across the 50 US states. However. Park et al. and the strengths of judgment and fairness underlie norms for evenhandedness and procedural justice. We also looked at the longitude–latitude interaction as a predictor of each character strength. and Rocky Mountain states had somewhat higher scores than those from New England. 2001).126 N. Middle Atlantic. and judgment. Considering that over 70% of the US population uses the Internet (Lebo. The consistently highest strengths. Our results may reveal something about pervasive human nature. the strength of hon esty enables negative injunctions.06. these results are not surprising. Discussion For the USA as a whole. Red state (Republican in 2000) versus blue state (Democratic in 2000) comparisons revealed differences (again. and gratitude embody positive duties.01 was for religiousness ( square ¼ 0. Slightly higher scores for religiousness were found for states in the southern USA. as shown by the  coefficients among the rank orderings of strengths for the 50 states. fairness. between religiousness and longitude. 1989)? We believe not. However. In a study of ipsative order of character strengths was highly similar across the 50 states. from nation to nation and from region to region within the USA. Srivastava. In contrast to the frequently expressed idea that a culture war is being waged in the world today.

and educational attainment. p < 0. Marks. tribe. Cape Verde. The generalization of current findings across nations may be limited due to the small sample sizes in some countries. surveys of the prevalence of psychological disorders—like obesity and schizophrenia—in different regions (Mokdad. 2. 1976).91. the current results may simply tell us that English-reading computer users around the world have similar profiles of character strengths. So. But the within-nation consistency did not appreciably differ from the between-nation consistency. Then we computed the rank-order correlations among all 100 of these individuals. gratitude. Chile. Serdula. Acknowledgements We thank Patty Newbold and Kai Schnabel Cortina for faciliating the research reported here. Greece. within demographic strata.63 to 0.  ¼ 0. They are deployed mainly within one’s own moral circle.17). 1986). Furthermore.001. Comparisons between the weighted US profile here and the profiles of a Japanese sample ( ¼ 0. Roberts. the present findings survive translation of the VIA-IS into other languages and paper-and-pencil administration.Character strengths (within-subject) stability over time of Big Five profiles. Nevertheless. consider these analyses that focused on the USA and nine other nations chosen randomly from our sample (Argentina. but they are not relentlessly shown in all situations. What would then be found..000 unique between-nation  coefficients. but much more in extending the moral circle beyond 127 one’s family. p < 001). 3. is a common humanity. & Kabagy.88. and work by Nisbett and Cohen (1996) on the southern USA ‘‘culture of honor. 1981. For context. p < 001. comparisons of subjective well-being (happiness) across different parts of the USA (Campbell. 2004). median ¼ 0.03. Additional studies with non-English readers and those with more diverse educational backgrounds are nevertheless needed to confirm our current findings. However.08). Ruch. There were some modest differences (e. 73% were positive (range from À0. & Koplan. we chose randomly 10 respondents. the highest scores within our samples included strengths such as kindness. 1981. kindness. Fraley. and the over-representation of well-educated respondents. Bahamas. mean ¼ 0. 1999. Further supporting this conclusion were analyses done at the level of individual respondents. respondents with more education scored higher on love of learning than those with less education effect size ¼ 0. 2006) and a German-speaking Swiss sample ( ¼ 0. which means that the real challenge of the twenty-first century lies not in building virtue from scratch. Robins. Although not a focus of the present research. Profiles of respondents from the same country showed a modicum of consistency.15).04.15. age.67) (W. but the relative rank orderings nonetheless agreed considerably across these contrasts.. New Zealand. females scored higher than males for the interpersonal strengths of gratitude. Of the 9. March 17. 1991).84. Of the 450 unique within-nation  coefficients. and Trzesniewski (2001) concluded on the basis of rank-order correlations uniformly smaller than the ones we found that there was ‘‘considerable’’ continuity. investigations of suicide and homicide rates in the USA as a function of longitude and latitude (Lester. state. Notes 1. from top (¼1) to bottom (¼24). a pattern at odds with the notion that Internet users are socially isolated and indifferent (Bargh & McKenna. Willits. Among the scattered exceptions are studies that compare IQ scores across US regions (Kaufman & Doppelt. median  ¼ 0. Strengths scores for an individual were assigned ipsative ranks. From each of these 10 nations. 71% were positive (range from À0.g. Strengths accounted Downloaded by [José Quadros] at 20:31 24 July 2012 . or nation (Singer. and then compared their similarity by computing Spearman correlations. across different levels of education. We regard the strengths of character we studied as trait-like. Malaysia. Bowman. 2004) completing paper-and-pencil versions of the VIA-IS in their native languages showed similar results. across different decades of age.78. and Sweden). and love. We created profiles of strengths. our conclusion that nation profiles are similar does not mean that individual people across (or even within) nations are interchangeable with respect to their strengths.75 to 1. All  coefficients were sizeable (between males and females. if our results are valid. we also looked at the US scores as a function of gender. and love effect sizes ffi 0.15. older adults scored higher than younger adults on strengths of temperance effect sizes ffi 0. because it is already there. religion. 1993). 1990). Dietz. personal communication. fairness. Torrey & Bowler.00.’’ which predisposes southern (as opposed to northern) White males to respond to insults with violence. mean ¼ 0. the fact that respondents needed to read English. Crider.74) (Shimai et al. Cayman Islands. median  ¼ 0. median ¼ 0. from 1 (highest) through 24 (lowest) and analysed in an ANOVA with strengths as a within-subjects factor and country as a between-subjects factor.

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