Pathways to Character
awarded areas of study

The overarching goal of the Pathways to Character Project is to examine whether and how growth in character strengths and virtues is possible following adversity, challenge, or failure. To achieve this goal, we have announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit research proposals from interdisciplinary research teams who will approach this question from different perspectives. Additionally, Project co-Leaders Infurna and Jayawickreme will each lead research projects aimed at the examination of the psychological nature of character growth following adversity, challenge or failure.

We expect the research to arise from the RFP to inform and advance the resilience and post-traumatic growth literatures. More specifically, we hope to identify the most promising research projects related to whether and how adversities, challenges, and failures potentially lead to growth in character strengths and virtues. The RFP will involve innovative groups of scholars in the discussion of key conceptual and empirical questions on the strengthening of character through adversity, challenge, or failure. Lastly, we hope to highlight and promote best research practices when studying growth in character following adversity, challenge, or failure.

What we’re working on

Studies by our team members and RFP Awardees

The research projects at ASU and WFU and the RFP Awardees will take multi-modal approaches to examining whether and how adversity, challenge, or failure leads to growth in character strengths and virtues. The samples will involve participants from across young adulthood, midlife, and old age, with the goal of illuminating using prospective longitudinal research designs the nature of character growth before and after adversity, challenge, or failure. The projects will involve self- and informant-ratings, dyadic approaches, and behavioral data, in addition to qualitative interviews and assessments at frequently intervals (multiple times a day and monthly) to examine their research questions.

  • New-Directions

    New Directions in Measuring Character Growth Following Challenge and Failure

    Eranda Jayawickreme & Team

    The empirical research at WFU will be led by Eranda Jayawickreme and other collaborators. This project aims to address the causality, accuracy, stability, and mechanisms of short-term adversity-driven change with 360 participants drawn from two different populations each highly likely to be exposed to different forms of challenge and failure; a student sample experiencing a year of significant academic challenges (following Blackie et al., 2016) and a low socio-economic community sample (following Blackie, Jayawickreme, Helzer, Forgeard, & Roepke, 2015).

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  • Does-Adversity-Lead

    Does Adversity Lead to Character Growth: If so, How and for Whom?

    Frank J. Infurna | Suniya S. Luthar | Kevin J. Grimm

    The team members of the empirical research project at ASU will consist of Frank J. Infurna, Suniya S. Luthar and Kevin J. Grimm. This project features a prospective longitudinal design of repeated assessments from individuals in midlife over a period of two years.

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