Character growth following life events? A study on character strengths during the COVID-19 pandemic [post]

Fabian Gander, Lisa Wagner
2020 unpublished
Did the COVID-19 pandemic promote character growth? Studies using sequential samples suggested that collective life events can result in character growth, but their conclusions have been questioned. This study examined character growth during the COVID-crisis using three approaches (perceived changes in oneself and a closer other, and longitudinal analyses of changes). Additionally, it investigated the relationships between character strengths assessed before the pandemic, and well-being,
more » ... d well-being, compliance with regulations, and voluntary engagement during the pandemic.German-speaking participants (N = 366, 76.5% female, mean age: 45.33 years) completed an assessment of character strengths up to 1.5 years before the COVID-19 pandemic and reported on perceived changes in character strengths, posttraumatic growth, well-being, compliance, and engagement during the COVID-crisis between June and August 2020. Results show that (a) perceived changes were reported for most character strengths in both oneself and close others, but (b) longitudinal increases were only observed in humility and prudence. Pre-crisis character strengths showed relationships with both (c) posttraumatic and (d) well-being during the crisis and predicted (e) compliance with regulations and (f) voluntary engagement.We conclude that actual character growth was smaller than the perceived changes, but that character strengths predicted positive experiences and behaviors related to the COVID-pandemic.
doi:10.31234/osf.io/hm5at fatcat:ls2yvda2frci3jakqqdlzrbdyi