The Relation of Character Strengths to Past, Present, and Future Life Satisfaction among German-Speaking Women


René Proyer, Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Binzmühlestrasse 14/7, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland. Email:


Background:Peterson and Seligman (2004) argue that character strengths are fulfilling and contribute to the “good life”. Building upon earlier research, this study tests the relation of strengths to past, present, and future life satisfaction. Methods: A sample of 1,087 women completed the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths and the Temporal Satisfaction with Life Scale in an online study. Results: The results suggest that primarily the strengths curiosity, hope, gratitude, love, and zest contributed to life satisfaction. Appreciation of beauty and excellence contributed more to past life satisfaction in older than in younger participants. For future life satisfaction religiousness was of importance while it was not for past or present satisfaction. Conclusions: The study underlines the importance of five key strengths that contribute to life satisfaction. It is argued that the study of the relation of character strengths with life satisfaction would greatly benefit from taking a life span perspective into account.