Ruch Wagner

Fakultäten » Philosophische Fakultät » Psychologisches Institut » Persönlichkeitspsychologie und Diagnostik » Prof. Dr. Willibald Ruch » Ruch Wagner

Completed research project

Title / Titel Good character at school: The role of students’ character strengths for positive experiences, positive behavior, and achievement at school
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Summary / Zusammenfassung Peterson and Seligman’s (2004) VIA classification describes 24 character strengths that are organized under six virtues. Character strengths are seen as inherently valuable, but they also contribute to positive outcomes (Peterson and Seligman, 2004). Since the development of the VIA-Youth (Park and Peterson, 2006; German version: Ruch, Weber, Park, & Peterson, 2014), which reliably assesses the 24 character strengths in children and adolescents between 10 and 17 years, studies in different cultures have revealed substantial links between character strengths and subjective well-being of children and adolescents (Gillham et al., 2011; Ruch et al., 2014; Van Eeden, Wissing, Dreyer, Park, & Peterson, 2008; Weber, Ruch, Littman-Ovadia, Lavy, & Gai, 2013). A first study on the role of character strengths at school (Weber & Ruch, 2012) suggested that a number of character strengths were related with school satisfaction and that some character strengths had an indirect effect on school achievement via positive behavior in the classroom, as rated by the teachers. This project aims to extend these findings by studying (1) the associations of the 24 character strengths with relevant school-related variables (positive experiences, positive relationships, motivation, achievement…), (2) exploring the role of the application of character strengths at school, and (3) testing the effectiveness of an intervention based on character strengths in the school setting. These aims are addressed in a number of studies with samples of students of mainly secondary schools in German-speaking Switzerland. First results suggest that positive affect at school is also related to character strengths (Weber, Wagner, & Ruch, 2014), and that the indirect effect of character strengths on school achievement via positive behavior in the classroom could be replicated using two samples (primary and secondary school students).
Publications / Publikationen Wagner, L. & Ruch, W. (2015). Good character at school: Positive classroom behavior mediates the link between character strengths and school achievement. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 610. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00610

Weber, M., Wagner, L., & Ruch, W. (2014). Positive feelings at school: On the relationships between students' character strengths, school-related affect, and school functioning. Journal of Happiness Studies. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s10902-014-9597-1

Keywords / Suchbegriffe character strengths, virtue, youth, adolescence, Positive Psychology, personality, education, school, students
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Prof. Dr. Willibald Ruch (Project Leader)
Dipl.-Psych. Lisa Wagner (Project Leader)
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
Universität Zürich (position pursuing an academic career), No project-specific funding
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
Dr. Marco Weber
Institut für Psychologie
FB 01 Humanwissenschaften
Universität Kassel
Holländische Str. 36-38
34127 Kassel
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Jan 2013 to Dec 2017