Character strengths and virtues in Chinese moral education: evidence from ‘the Code’ and from primary and secondary schools

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

External organisations

  • Tsinghua University


This study bridges understandings of character strengths, based on McGrath and Walker’s four-factor analysis of VIA-Youth, and a key text in current Chinese moral education: The Code for Primary and Secondary Schools. We utilise two research methods, textual analysis and survey questionnaires, to garner data theoretically and empirically. Our research has three aims. First, through analysing ‘the Code’ from a VIA-Youth perspective, we identify 30 implicit character strengths, of which 11 are nominally in common with VIA-Youth. Second, we fit all the 30 strengths into the four-factor model through textual analysis. Third, we test the model by factor-analysing student self-report surveys based on the Code. Our analysis reveals that one of the six extracted factors matches the adaptation of the four-factor model while the remaining five present a mix of virtue categories. Moreover, the nine clusters that constitute the Code present a high resemblance with the structuration of the components’ matrix.

Bibliographic note

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Early online date10 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Mar 2021


  • Character strengths and virtues, Chinese moral education, McGrath and Walker’s four-factor model, the Chinese-policy ‘Code’, VIA-Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas