The Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1 - 15

Promoting Students' Strengths

2004; Rashid et al., 2013). However, previous
studies did not examine these relationships
in a college student sample or include the
additional variable of social group participation. Such a sample of college students and
the consideration of social group participation
would enable this literature to more effectively
inform the efforts of student affairs personnel
and, specifically, of residence life staff. Thus, in
an effort to replicate previous research findings
and include the additional considerations, we
asked the following research question: Does a
relationship exist between character strengths
(love, hope, zest, and curiosity), subjective
well-being, and social group participation?

METHOD
Participants
Participants were recruited using the SONA
System at a large Midwestern public university, by snowball sampling, and through contacts via email and Facebook. All students,
ages 18-24, enrolled in college were eligible to
participate. No other eligibility requirements
were set. Data were collected from 254 students, ranging from 18 to 24 years of age (M =
20.6). One outlier was removed from the data,
ending with 253 total participants. Please see
Table 1 for more information. This sample represents the population that had access to this
study (i.e., students enrolled in courses that
offer credit through this SONA) relatively well.

Procedure
Participants were provided informed consent
information and then directed to an online
survey. Participation was voluntary, and students had the right to opt out by exiting the
survey at any time; completion of the survey
reflected their agreement to participate. All

Proactive prevention efforts and
holistic student development are
the cornerstones of student affairs
and residence life. Encouraging
students to utilize their strengths
to their fullest can lower distress,
improve well-being, and cultivate
community.

participants completed three questionnaires
in addition to a brief demographic form: an
8-item social group participation measure developed for the purpose of this study, the VIA
Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS;   Peterson &
Seligman, 2004), and the Satisfaction with Life
Scale (SWLS; Diener et al., 1985).

Instruments
Demographic form. Participants responded
to a standard demographic questionnaire that
asked about age, gender, race, and student
status.

VIA Inventory of Strengths. The VIA Inventory of Strengths (Peterson & Seligman,
2004) is a 240-item self-report questionnaire
that measures the degree to which participants
possess 24 character strengths. The items are
scored on a 5-point Likert-style scale. Higher
numbers on a scale reflect more character
strength in that area, whereas lower scores
reflect less character strength. Participant character strengths are recorded in rank order, starting with the top five scales known as signature

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Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

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