Original article| Volume 95, ISSUE 11, P2096-2102, November 2014

Role of Character Strengths in Outcome After Mild Complicated to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: A Positive Psychology Study



      To examine the effects of character strengths on psychosocial outcomes after mild complicated to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).


      Prospective study with consecutive enrollment.


      A Midwestern rehabilitation hospital.


      Persons with mild complicated to severe TBI (N=65).


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Community Integration Measure, Disability Rating Scale, Modified Cumulative Illness Rating Scale, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, Satisfaction with Life Scale, Values in Action Inventory of Strengths, and Wechsler Test of Adult Reading.


      Character virtues and strengths were moderately associated with subjective outcomes, such that there were fewer and less strong associations between character virtues/strengths and objective outcomes than subjective outcomes. Specifically, positive attributes were associated with greater life satisfaction and perceived community integration. Fewer and less strong associations were observed for objective well-being; however, character strengths and virtues showed unique value in predicting physical health and disability. Positive affectivity was not meaningfully related to objective outcomes, but it was significantly related to subjective outcomes. In contrast, negative affectivity was related to objective but not subjective outcomes.


      Given the strength of the associations between positive aspects of character or ways of perceiving the world and positive feelings about one's current life situation, treatments focused on facilitating these virtues and strengths in persons who have experienced TBI may result in better perceived outcomes and potentially subsequently lower comorbidities.


      List of abbreviations:

      CIM (Community Integration Measure), DRS (Disability Rating Scale), GCS (Glasgow Coma Scale), MCIRS (Modified Cumulative Illness Rating Scale), PANAS (Positive and Negative Affect Schedule), PANAS-NA (PANAS-Negative Affectivity), PANAS-PA (PANAS-Positive Affectivity), SWLS (Satisfaction With Life Scale), TBI (traumatic brain injury), VIA–IS (Values in Action Inventory of Strengths), WTAR (Wechsler Test of Adult Reading)
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