Does Mindfulness Matter in the Development of Character Strengths?

A RCT Study Comparing Mindfulness-Based Strengths Coaching and Character Strengths-Based Coaching

Dr Qing Wang and Qinyue Zhu

Character strengths are positive traits that promote individuals’ well-being and psychological capitals to create a better life. Variations exist in character strengths-based coaching, and research has integrated different active ingredients into interventions. This study aimed to investigate the role of mindfulness in strengths development, directly comparing the effects of mindfulness-based strengths practice (MBSP) and an existing coaching form of character strengths-based intervention (CSBI) without mindfulness. Ninety-five participants were randomly assigned to MBSP, CSBI, and blank control groups (CG).

Participants’ mindfulness, character strengths, strengths knowledge, strengths use, psychological well-being (PWB), and subjective well-being (SWB) were assessed before and after the coaching, and one month later. The results showed that MBSP and CSBI were almost equivalent in their effectiveness in enhancing character strengths, strengths knowledge, and strengths use compared to CG. Moreover, MBSP was more effective in promoting mindfulness, PWB, and overall character strength than CSBI, while CSBI was more effective in enhancing participants’ SWB than MBSP. Further examination indicated that the development of strengths knowledge and strengths use served as serial mediators of the increase in character strengths, and the development of mindfulness served as the mediator of the increase in psychological well-being. These findings suggest that CSBI works effectively for individuals’ awareness and use of strengths as well as SWB, with or without the element of mindfulness; however, people may benefit more in terms of increasing overall character strengths and PWB via a heightened level of mindfulness.

Reference: Zhu, Q., Wang, Q., & Yang, S. (2023). Does Mindfulness Matter in the Development of Character Strengths? A RCT Study Comparing Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice and Character Strengths-Based Intervention. The Journal of Positive Psychology, online,

Qinyue Zhu is a postgraduate research student studying educational psychology at School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University. She currently works and studies in Dr. Qing Wang’s Educational Coaching Research Group. Her research interests include creativity, mindfulness, learning motivation and coaching.