Original Research

Biological contributions to well-being: The relationships amongst temperament, character strengths and resilience

Ann-Marie K. Hutchinson, Anita D. Stuart, Hester G. Pretorius
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 36, No 2 | a844 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v36i2.844 | © 2010 Ann-Marie K. Hutchinson, Anita D. Stuart, Hester G. Pretorius | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 July 2009 | Published: 06 December 2010

About the author(s)

Ann-Marie K. Hutchinson, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Anita D. Stuart, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Hester G. Pretorius, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: Positive psychology emphasises the nurturing of personal strengths, yet little research to date has investigated the role of nature in psychological wellness.

Research purpose: The study aimed to address this dearth by investigating the relationship between temperament, with its biological roots, and psychological well-being and also to ascertain whether character strengths and resilience can be predicted by certain temperament traits.

Motivation for the study: Although the biological bases of mental illness have been researched extensively in past studies, there is very little research regarding the biological bases of psychological wellness.

Research design, approach and method: This quantitative study selected a sample of 620 participants and applied four measuring instruments, namely the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire, the Values in Action – Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) , the Sense of Coherence scale and the Resilience scale to measure temperament and well-being. Correlations and logistic regression analyses were used to analyse the data.

Main findings: There are relationships between certain biologically based temperament traits and the psychological constructs of character strengths and resilience. Logistic regression models, using temperament as the independent variable, correctly predicted high and low scores on the Sense of Coherence scale, the Resilience scale and the (VIA-IS) with 64% – 76.1% accuracy.

Pratical/managerial implications: Understanding the physiological substrates of flourishing and being able to predict strengths based on temperament promise advances in applying positive psychology concepts.

Contribution/value-add: Values, ethics, character strengths, virtues and resilience are universal and may be entrenched in biology, according to some theorists. This has not been researched much, however. The current study addressed this dearth.


psychology; personality; psycho-neurobiology; well-being; quantitative; positive psychology


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