Character Strengths, Religiosity and Subjective Well-being among Pakistani Expatriates

Thesis Title: Character Strengths, Religiosity and Subjective Well-being among Pakistani Expatriates

Author: Sidra Javed

Supervisor: Naumana Amjad

Year: 2017

Degree: MPhil

University: Institute of Applied Psychology, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan

Corresponding Address: Department of Applied Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. Email:, Phone: 92-42-9231245


The purpose of the present study was to examine the role of character strengths and virtues in subjective well-being in a Muslim sample. This investigation also aimed to identify contribution of religiosity and country of residence in the already established connection between virtues and wellbeing. Therefore, a sample comprising of Pakistani living in Pakistan and Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia was used. It was hypothesized that; (a) there is a positive relationship between character strengths and subjective wellbeing; (b) religiosity and country of residence is likely to moderate the relationship between virtues of character strengths and subjective wellbeing (c) character strengths predict subjective wellbeing. Cross sectional (mixed method between and within group) design was used. The sample consisted of 100 Pakistani locals and 100 Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia. VIA-120 Inventory of Character Strengths (Peterson & Seligman, 2004), Short Muslim Practice and Belief Scale (AlMarri, Oei, & Al-Adawi, 2009), Satisfaction with life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen & Griffin, 1985) and Positive and Negative Affect Scale (Watson, Clark, & Tellegan, 1988) was used to collect the data. Pearson Product Moment Correlation analysis revealed that there was a significant positive correlation between 24 character strengths and measures of subjective well-being. Moderation analysis revealed that religiosity was a significant moderator between the association of virtues of character strengths and subjective well-being meaning that participants with higher religiosity have a stronger association between virtues and subjective wellbeing. Interaction of country of residence and virtues revealed that people living in their home country Pakistan had higher association between character strengths and subjective wellbeing. Regression analyses confirmed that subjective wellbeing was predicted by character strengths. Independent sample t-test results revealed that there was a difference (Appreciation of Beauty, Bravery, Teamwork, Curiosity, Perseverance and love of learning) between local Pakistani and expatriate Pakistanis. This study has contributed to the existing knowledge based on character strengths and well-being in Muslim sample, contributed to research on well-being of expatriates and diaspora, and adds a dimension of religiosity in connection between virtues and well-being. Since virtues are value in action, these findings can have implication of increasing use of strengths among people making transition to a new a culture. The study is a pioneer attempt to apply this model in adults of varying ages across two cultures.

Keywords: Virtues, character strengths, well-being, Muslims, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia.


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