Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Americans with disabilities experience low rates of employment and are more than twice as likely to live in poverty than their non-disabled peers. Job seekers with disabilities face a myriad of external barriers to employment: 1) lower education/skill attainment, 2) complex public benefit rules, 3) limited access to reliable transportation, 4) lack of work-related supports, and 5) persistent employer-bias. These challenges are compounded by internal barriers: 1) diminished self-efficacy and hope, 2) social role devaluation, and 3) extrinsic work motivations. Several theories within positive psychology offer new pathways to employment for people with disabilities. One such theory is character strengths. Character strengths offer a framework for understanding who we are at our core and how to leverage our strengths to improve outcomes in multiple areas of life. Research on character has led to the design of interventions to build hope and self-efficacy, and to foster goal achievement. This paper will review research on character strengths as a facilitator of employment for job seekers with disabilities and provide an outline for integrating character-based positive interventions into a national employment program for people with acquired physical disabilities.


Character strengths, hope, self-efficacy, disability, employment, job seeker


Well-Being/Flourishing, Business/Work, Character Strengths and Virtues, Counseling/Coaching





Date Posted: 21 May 2018