Thursday, 28 July 2016
Positive Psychology and Integrity
Moral wholeness for a whole world
Integrity is moral wholeness—living consistently in moral wholeness. Its opposite is corruption, the distortion, perversion, and deterioration of moral goodness, resulting in the exploitation of people. Global integrity is moral wholeness at all levels in our world—from the individual to the institutional to the international. Global integrity is requisite for “building the future we want—being the people we need.” It is not easy, it is not always black and white, and it can be risky. These entries explore the many facets of integrity with a view towards the global efforts to promote sustainable development and wellbeing.
Positive Psychology is a relatively new field of psychology that has been rapidly growing over the past two decades. It focuses on the positive aspects of human personality (e.g., character strengths, virtue, and the heroic), personal fulfillment, and overall wellbeing. More recently it has been extending beyond the individual focus to also include social and community wellbeing.
One of the most popular websites related to positive psychology is Authentic Happiness. This website includes a number of questionnaires which one can take online for free, after a short registration. One of the most popular questionnaires in the VIA Survey of Character Strengths. This survey looks at 24 character strengths (organized In terms of six broad virtues: ).
Where is integrity in the VIA Survey? The character strength of honesty is the closest equivalent to integrity. “Honesty [authenticity, integrity]: Speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way and acting in a sincere way; being without pretense; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions.” (https://www.viacharacter.org/www/Portals/0/Classification%202014.pdf).
Integrity as we define it though in these weblog entries, is considerably different. It is not simply “presenting oneself in a genuine way and acting in a sincere way” but rather endeavoring to live your life in a consistently moral way. Integrity in our view is a core, unifying characteristic of healthy (positive) human personality, functioning, and wellbeing. It is not a third level descriptor (i.e. 1. Virtues, 2. Character Strengths, 3. Descriptors). Arguably though, some aspects of integrity are embedded implicitly in other Character Strengths, such as Bravery and Perseverance.
--Go on the Authentic Happiness website and take the Character Strengths survey. What are your strengths? How do you rate in the strength of honesty?
----How might integrity be embedded implicitly in other aspect of the 24 Character Strengths?
(see descriptions HERE)
--See also: Entwistle, D. N., & Moroney, Stephen K. (2011). Integrative perspectives on human flourishing: The imago Dei and positive psychology. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 39(4), 295-303. (article overview HERE)