May 15, 2020

VIA Inventory of Strengths

Last updated on April 25, 2021

The VIA Inventory of Strengths (VIA or VIA-IS for short) is a self-administered, scientifically validated questionnaire that provides a rank order of an adult’s 24 character strengths and virtues.

 

Dr. Natalie’s rating: 5 stars for appropriate and respectful wording, 2 stars for clarity & lack of ambiguity, and 5 stars for testing accuracy.

 

Take the test here:

Note that you need to create an account to participate in the free survey. With your account, you can save your progress and always access your Character Strengths Profile. According to the VIA website, your results are private and confidential.


Who the test is designed for


Versions & translations


Taking the test

The test asks that you choose one option in response to each statement. The challenge for autistics is words like always and never, which, when taken literally, mean if we can think of a single exception, we will not answer in a nuanced way—a requirement of the test.

The VIA-IS consists of 96 statements, giving you 5 choices for each statement:

  1. Very Much Like Me 
  2. Like Me
  3. Neutral
  4. Unlike Me
  5. Not at all like me

Note: If you decide to take the test, please ignore absolute words such as always and never; these questions are just asking about your general tendency. Read the definitions of terms such as bravery and zest from the list in scoring rather than dictionary definitions, to avoid confusion.


Scoring

  • Scoring: Provides a rank order of an adult’s 24 character strengths
Embrace Autism | VIA Inventory of Strengths | Screenshot 2020 05 15 13.59.20
Image credit: VIA Institute on Character

 

Embrace Autism | VIA Inventory of Strengths | Screenshot 2020 05 15 14.02.14
Image credit: VIA Institute on Character

Validity

How reliable, accurate, valid, and up to date is the test?

The VIA-IS is consistent with what people consider to be their strengths. Research shows its results are in agreement with other Strengths personality tests.

Test-retest consistency is good. Finally, it demonstrates its validity across numerous cultures.


An illustration of Natalie pointing to the title ‘Discussion’.

Discussion

Natalie:
  • This is one of my all-time favourite tests, with good reason. Research shows that people who use their strengths are 18 times more likely to flourish in their lives than those who don’t. Also, the VIA-IS is used to “inform therapeutic interventions; bolster self-esteem; build resilience; strengthen the therapeutic relationship; and empower the [person] (Via Institute of Character, 2017).” [2]Take survey | VIA character
  • There is currently no research published on ASD and the VIA-IS. However, Martin and I are in the process of writing and publishing that research. A very distinctive pattern emerges with autism. At this point, I use it as an adjunct to assess people for autism.
Kendall:
  • Simply omitting the words always and never would make my answers much easier to negotiate. Their use in statement wording consistently excludes a very much like me, very much unlike me response, and often force a neutral answer. While the resulting scale is skewed in some respects, I feel it’s accurate overall. Since the results are generally what I consider my strengths, their usefulness would appear to concern others rather than me personally.

Recommended next steps

After the VIA, the tests below are suggested.

 

Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ)

A simple screening test that is used as a basis for pursuing a formal autism evaluation

Empathy Quotient (EQ)

Measures Theory of Mind

 

Systemizing Quotient (SQ)

Measures systemizing and pattern finding


An illustration of a clipboard with a checklist or assessment.

If you are looking for an autism assessment,
Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht can offer help!
You can find more information here:

Online autism assessments

References

This article
was written by:
dr-engelbrecht-and-kendall-jones

Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht RP ND is a dually licensed registered psychotherapist and naturopathic doctor, and a Canadian leader in trauma and PTSD, and she happens to be autistic; she got diagnosed at 48.

And not only does she happens to be autistic, but her autism plays a significant role in who she is as a doctor and how she interacts with her patients and clients.

Kendall Jones is a musician and sound engineer from Louisiana, with an affinity for both music and language. He was diagnosed late in life, at 61.

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