Date of Award

Spring 2009

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Todd E DeMitchell


This exploratory study used the Brief Strengths Survey self-report instrument (Peterson & Park, 2008), based on the Values in Action (VIA) Inventory of Strengths (Seligman & Peterson, 2004), to determine the dominant character strengths of graduate mental health and social work students ( n = 56) as compared to those of MBA students (n = 65) in order to explore the relationship between personality characteristics and career choice. A gender analysis was conducted in order to determine whether dominant character strengths were also related to gender rather than discipline alone. Mental health students had higher scores on the strengths of Kindness/Generosity, Playfulness/Humor, Social Skills/Social Intelligence, Appreciation of Beauty/Awe, Religiousness/Spirituality and Love/Attachment, and MBA student had higher scores on Perseverance/Persistence/Industriousness. Among mental health students, there were no significant differences on dominant character strengths between males and females. On the strengths of Appreciation of Beauty/Awe and Gratitude/Thankfulness, females as a group, regardless of discipline, had higher scores than males of either discipline.