- Statements: 96
- Duration: 10–15 minutes
- Type: screening tool & psychological assessment
- Author: Christopher Peterson & Martin Seligman
- Publishing year: 2004
- Seminal book: Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification (2004)
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
- The VIA-IS is available in most languages
- Non-adults versions are also available: Ages 10–17 (you will need to create an account)
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:
- Very Much Like Me
- Like Me
- Unlike Me
- 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: Provides a rank order of an adult’s 24 character strengths
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.
- 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).” 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.
- 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.
A simple screening test that is used as a basis for pursuing a formal autism evaluation
Measures Theory of Mind
Measures systemizing and pattern finding
If you are looking for an autism assessment,
Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht can offer help!
You can find more information here: