1887

n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Karaktersterktes herontdek in die sielkunde - : navorsings- en oorsigartikel

Volume 48, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0041-4751

Abstract

In hierdie artikel ontleed ons die konstrukte "karakter" en "karaktersterktes" as belangrike konsepte in sielkunde in die algemeen en in positiewe sielkunde in die besonder. Die karakterkonsep het 'n lang geskiedenis in die sielkunde gehad, gekenmerk deur kom-en-gaan tendense. Die belangrikheid en relevansie van die teoretiese konsep kon nooit suksesvol weerlê word nie, maar die feit dat so 'n abstrakte verskynsel soos karakter nie empiries ondersoek is nie, het gelei tot die uitsluiting daarvan uit hoofstroom sielkunde/psigologie. Die opkomende sub-dissipline van positiewe sielkunde het egter die karakterkonsep weer na vore gebring en dit empiries meetbaar gemaak in karaktersterktes as psigologiese eienskappe. Die karaktersterktemodel van Peterson en Seligman (2004) sluit 24 manifestasies van karakter (karaktersterktes) in, vervat in ses groepe waardes. Hierdie model verteenwoordig 'n kernkonstruk van die positiewe sielkunde en hou baie belofte in vir navorsing en praktiese toepassing wat toegespits is op die begrip en bevordering van psigologiese welstand en lewensvervulling van individue en gemeenskappe. Verdere navorsing oor die betroubaarheid en geldigheid van die model in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks is noodsaaklik. Sodanige navorsing kan die uitbou van die teoretiese grondslae van die karaktersterktekonstruk en -model bevorder, veral met inagneming van kultuurdiversiteit.


In this article, we analyze the constructs "character" and "character strengths" as important concepts in psychology in general and positive psychology in particular. The character concept has had a long history in psychology since the 1920's, but lost its theoretical and empirical importance some decades thereafter in favour of the concept of personality.
The (moral-philosophical) concept "character" has evaded empirical scrutiny in the early years of psychology as a discipline and this has led to its exclusion from mainstream psychology. The emerging perspective of positive psychology however, has resurrected the character concept and operationalized it in terms of character strengths. The character strengths model of Peterson and Seligman (2004), introduces 24 manifestations of character, clustered into six groups of virtues namely, wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence. Peterson and Seligman (2004), developed the Values in Action Classification of Strengths as a system in which distinctions are made between virtues, strengths and enabling themes. Virtues are core characteristics valued by moral philosophers universally and strengths are less abstract psychological characteristics that serve as routes for achieving virtues. Enabling themes are factors that lead people to manifest given character strengths in given situations and hence contribute to virtues. Talents and abilities (e.g. intelligence) and characteristics not valued across cultures, were excluded from the classification system (Carr, 2004). The 24 strengths associated with 6 virtues can be assessed with the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) or the VIA-IS for youth (VIA-Y), both self report questionnaires. The VIA-IS can be accessed at http://www.positive-psychology.org/viastrengthsinventory.htm.
The character strength subscales of the VIA-IS all have good reliability in USA-studies, and the inventory is in further validation.
The character strengths idea plays an important role in the new domain of positive psychology, and holds much promise for practice and research aimed at understanding and promoting psychological well-being and fulfilment of individuals and communities. According to Peterson and Seligman (2004), their research found a remarkable similarity in the relative endorsement of the 24 character strengths by adults around the world and from the USA. The most commonly endorsed strengths in 54 countries are kindness, fairness, authenticity, gratitude and openmindedness, and the lesser strengths consistently include prudence, modesty and self-regulation. The correlations of the rankings from nation to nation, are strong (0.80+), - indicating more cultural, ethnic, religious and economic similarities than differences, and seemingly points to a universality of human nature as manifested by character strengths. In South Africa however, a more emic factor pattern emerged indicating an African collective-cultural system. Further research on this model and validation of measures thereof, is necessary in the South African context that includes cultural diversities not previously taken into account.

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/content/akgees/48/1/EJC20081
2008-03-01
2019-08-18

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