Ruch Beermann

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

Completed research project

Title / Titel Character strength and virtues, ways of life, and life satisfaction
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Original title / Originaltitel Charakterstärken und Tugenden, Lebensstil und Lebenszufriedenheit
Summary / Zusammenfassung According to Seligman (2002) there are three paths to happiness: the life of pleasure, the life of engagement and the life of meaning. The "pleasurable life" is about accumulating as many kicks as one can-and learning how to savor and amplify them. Examples are activities like shopping, eating, playing computer games, or taking drugs. The pleasant life is what people think of when considering whether they are happy from moment to moment. The life of engagement is about understanding and using one's core strengths/virtues in work and love and play. Using one's signature character strengths to the point of total absorption brings about flow (a concept pioneered by Mike Csikszentmihalyi). The good life comes through deep engagement in work, family life or other activities; i.e., any activity that one finds challenging and rewarding. Lastly, the "meaningful life" is when a person uses his/her strengths for the purpose of something larger than him/herself. This aspect of Seligman’s model is directly related to Positive Institutions-those organizations that promote positive character development and/or meaning. Activities involved in the meaningful life may relate to volunteering at a soup kitchen, or helping at the school fair. Peterson and Seligman (in press) developed the “Ways of Life”-questionnaire, a 18 item measure of the pleasant life, the good life and the meaningful life. It is expected that having more pleasures does not increase life satisfaction. However, having a life of high absorption is expected to correlate to life satisfaction measures, and so should choosing to live a life of faith, purpose, and meaning. The project will first work on the German adaptation of the “ways of life”-instrument and then look at the interrelation among character strength (VIA-IS), the good life (German version of the ways of life), and life satisfaction in younger and older individuals.
Publications / Publikationen Buschor, C.*, Proyer, R. T.*, & Ruch, W.* (2013). Self- and peer-rated character strengths: How do they relate to satisfaction with life and orientations to happiness? The Journal of Positive Psychology, 8, 116-127. doi:10.1080/17439760.2012.758305 (*authors contributed equally and are listed alphabetically)

Peterson, C., Ruch, W., Beermann, U., Park, N. & Seligman, M. E. P. (2007). Strengths of character, orientation to happiness, and life satisfaction. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 2, 149-156. doi:10.1080/17439760701228938

Proyer, R. T., Ruch, W., & Chen, G.-H. (2012). Gelotophobia: Life satisfaction and happiness across cultures. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, 25, 23-40. doi:10.1515/humor-2012-0002

Ruch, W., Harzer, C. Proyer, R. T., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2010). Ways to happiness in German-speaking countries: The adaptation of the German version of the Orientations to Happiness Questionnaire in paper-pencil and internet samples. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 26, 224-231. doi:10.1027/1015-5759/a000030

Ruch, W., Huber, A., Beermann, U., & Proyer, R. T. (2007). Character strengths as predictors of the “good life” in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. In Romanian Academy, “George Barit“ Institute of History, Department of Social Research (Ed.), Studies and researches in social sciences (Vol. 16, pp. 123-131). Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Argonaut Press.

Selected presentation:

Beermann, U., Huber, A., & Ruch, W. (2004). Ways to happiness: Do character strengths enable the good life? 2004 Positive Psychology Summit, 30.09. - 3.10.2004, Washington DC. USA.

Keywords / Suchbegriffe character strength, virtues, the good life, life satisfaction, VIA-IS,
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Prof. Dr. Willibald Ruch (Project Leader)
Mag. Ursula Beermann (Project Leader)
Other links to external web pages
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
Christopher Peterson
Department of Psychology
University of Michigan
525 East University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1109
United States
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Oct 2004 to Dec 2006