Character strengths of individuals with first episode psychosis in Individual Resiliency Training

Julia Browne, Sue E. Estroff, Kelsey Ludwig, Carrington Merritt, Piper Meyer-Kalos, Kim T. Mueser, Jennifer D. Gottlieb, David L. Penn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Positive psychology interventions that integrate a person's strengths into treatment result in improvements in life satisfaction and well-being. Character strengths classified within six core virtues (wisdom/knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence) have been the subject of substantial research. Though a number of studies have been conducted in the general population, little is known about the character strengths of individuals with first episode psychosis (FEP). Moreover, positive psychology principles, in particular a focus on personal strengths, have been increasingly integrated into FEP treatment and was a core component of Individual Resiliency Training (IRT), the individual therapy component of NAVIGATE tested in the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode Early Treatment Program. As such, the present study offers an examination of character strengths among 105 FEP clients in specialized early intervention treatment. The present study included two primary aims: 1) to conduct a descriptive analysis of character strengths of FEP individuals and 2) to examine exploratory associations between character strengths and changes in symptomatic and recovery variables over six months. Results revealed that the most commonly identified strengths were: Honesty, Authenticity, and Genuineness (40.95%), Kindness and generosity (37.14%), Fairness, equity, and justice (29.52%), Gratitude (29.52%), and Humor and playfulness (29.52%). Three virtues (Humanity, Justice, and Transcendence) were significantly associated with improvements in symptoms, psychological well-being, and interpersonal relations over six months. Overall, the present study offers a glimpse into how persons with FEP view their strengths and how certain clusters of strengths are related to important outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-454
Number of pages7
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StatePublished - May 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Early intervention
  • Positive psychology
  • Recovery
  • Strengths-based therapy


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