Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Service Learning Projects

No Pain More Gain

Emma Judge
Sasha Heinz

Document Type Thesis or dissertation


A study of 6156 respondents to an online survey measuring their character strengths and virtues twice over a period of time suggests that an increase in virtue may be linked not only to eudemonic happiness, but to the hedonic as well. Happy people see more growth in character strengths than their less happy counterparts. This relationship is particularly strong for the virtues robustly associated with life satisfaction (gratitude, zest, love, curiosity, optimism/hope) and wisdom. Conversely those who are depressed and experience more negative affect see a greater decline in character strengths. The findings support the Broaden and Build theory (Fredrickson, 2001), in that the character strengths that broadened mindsets and behavioral repertoires are more affected by the subjective well-being. This may suggest an alternative approach to character development. Encouraging happiness and positive affect at the beginning of the process, may “prime” the individual for the change they wish to make happen.


Date Posted: 14 May 2009