The role of positive psychological traits in overcoming vulnerability: life course perspectives

The research project „Professional trajectories: Impact of individual characteristics and resources, and cultural background“ is one of 14 research projects of the „NCCR LIVES – Overcoming Vulnerability: Life Course Perspectives“. It is conducted in a cooperation between the universities of Lausanne and Zurich. The involved scientists come from different psychological disciplines (personality psychology, work psychology, positive psychology). In this research project, the professional trajectories (transitions and changes) of about 2400 individuals, aged between 25 und 55 years, are analyzed. Included in this sample are also unemployed persons as well as persons with migration background. Assessments are done in annual intervals over a period of seven years.

Assessed are (among others):

  • Indicators of job satisfaction, career development and career success
  • Individual characteristics (personality traits, strengths of character)
  • Domains of health and subjective well-being

Specific research topics that are addressed by Prof. Dr. Willibald Ruch, Dr. Jennifer Hofmann, and Dr. Fabian Gander (University of Zurich, Department of Psychology, Personality and Assessment) concern aspects of positive psychology in an occupational context: How do strengths of character and orientations to happiness contribute to work satisfaction and work success? Can they also serve as a buffer against the negative impact of critical life events (such as unemployment) on subjective well-being, and are they helpful resources for successful coping (such as finding a new job after unemployment) with these life events? The aspects of positive psychology and personality psychology are also planned to be analyzed from a lifespan perspective: How stable are strengths of character when investigated longitudinally across different ages, and which factors can lead to changes in strengths?

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