Home Hero

Examining the possibility of

Growth through adversity

Can we grow through adversity?

The theme of “strength from adversity” is appealing to many, and central to a number of cultural narratives. However, claims that adversity can in fact build character lacks robust empirical evidence, with many unanswered questions remaining. Do character strengths and virtues in fact grow following adversity and what are the rigorous methodological approaches for prospectively assessing potential growth? The Pathways to Character project aims to promote research that rigorously examines whether adversity, challenge, or failure can strengthen character, with a focus on the virtues of altruism, humility, gratitude, relatedness/empathy, spirituality and open-mindedness.

Learn More

Submissions Due April 15

Apply for grant funding

The Pathways to Character project with be running a $2 million funding competition aimed at empirical studies designed to focus on accurately conceptualizing and prospectively assessing growth in character strengths and virtues following adversity, challenge or failure. We envision applicants from personality, social, clinical, and developmental psychology (but possibly other subfields as well). Interdisciplinary teams of psychologists working with faculty in other disciplines, especially philosophy or theology, are encouraged (but are not required).

Click here to download the RFP announcement and here to download the recommended measures.

Learn More

Meet the Team

Our Project Team is an interdisciplinary group of scholars, each of them well-respected in their field, who will be a part of the grant review process and serve as a board of advisors for the Pathways to Character Project.

Learn more