Strengths Across the Lifespan: A Qualitative Analysis of Developmental Trajectories and Influential Factors

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Abstract

The extant body of strengths literature largely involves the outcomes of identifying and using strengths. The few studies that examine strength development focus on particular strengths as they operate in a particular domain of life. The current study aims to fill this void by examining the life span trajectory of strengths through interviews with individuals (N = 10) over the age of 50. Participants were asked to reflect on their strengths during key developmental periods—childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Using the consensual qualitative research (CQR) methodology, 21 primary categories across 3 domains (i.e., strength trajectory, internal influences, and external influences) were identified. Findings highlight strengths fluctuate throughout the life span and several individual and environmental factors influence the development of strengths. Unique developmental findings and practical implications are discussed.

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