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ISSN : 2233-6710(Print)
ISSN : 2384-2121(Online)
Journal of Asia Pacific Counseling Vol.11 No.1 pp.93-110

Development and Psychometric Validation of a Semantic Differential Measure of Character Strengths in a Sample of Singaporean University Students

Chih-Chin Chou1, John Keegan2, Nicole Ditchman3, Fong Chan4, Kanako Iwanaga5, Cahit Kaya6, Kevin Bengtson7, Mayu Fujikawa8, Soo-Yin Tan9
1University of South Florida
2Hunter College, City University of New York
3Illinois Institute of Technology
4University of Wisconsin-Madison
5Virginia Commonwealth University
6Giresun University, Turkey
7Western Washington University
8Tohoku University, Japan
9National Institute of Education, Singapore
Corresponding Author
Chih-Chin Chou, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33617, United States 862-220-6682


Positive psychology emerged as a movement in professional psychology that emphasizes the positive psychological aspects of the individual instead of focusing on diagnosis and psychopathology. Peterson and Seligman (2004) developed and validated the 240-item Virtues in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) to assess character strengths and virtues that enable optimal human thriving. However, VIA-IS is often considered too long for use by clinicians in their private practices, as well as for researchers interested in conducting positive psychology research. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of a 24-item Values in Action Semantic Differential Scale (VIA-SDS) in a sample of 231 Singaporean university students. Exploratory factor analysis revealed a 4-factor measurement structure (Humanity, Optimism, Leadership, and Creativity) with Cronbach’s alpha coefficients ranging from .67 to .88. Three of the four latent variables were positively associated with happiness and negatively related to perceived stress and depression. These findings support the validity of the VIA-SDS for use as a brief clinical assessment instrument by clinicians and researchers to assess character strengths.