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The construct of emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the individual differences in the perception, processing, regulation, and utilization of emotional information. As these differences have been shown to have a significant impact on important life outcomes (e.g., mental and physical health, work performance and social relationships), this study investigated, using a controlled experimental design, whether it is possible to increase EI. Participants of the experimental group received a brief empirically-derived EI training (four group training sessions of two hours and a half) while control participants continued to live normally. Results showed a significant increase in emotion identification and emotion management abilities in the training group. Follow-up measures after 6 months revealed that these changes were persistent. No significant change was observed in the control group. These findings suggest that EI can be improved and open new treatment avenues.
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Increasing emotional intelligence: (How) is it possible?
Delphine Nelis
a,*
, Jordi Quoidbach
a
, Moïra Mikolajczak
b,c
, Michel Hansenne
a
a
Personality and Individual Differences Unit, Department of Cognitive Science, University of Liège, 5 Bd. du Rectorat, 4000 Liège, Belgium
b
Research Unit for Emotion, Cognition and Health, Department of Psychology, Université catholique de Louvain, 10 Place Cardinal Mercier, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
c
Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS), Belgium
article info
Article history:
Received 29 October 2008
Received in revised form 23 January 2009
Accepted 28 January 2009
Available online 6 March 2009
Keywords:
Emotional intelligence
Emotional skills
Intervention
Training
abstract
The construct of emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the individual differences in the perception, process-
ing, regulation, and utilization of emotional information. As these differences have been shown to have a
significant impact on important life outcomes (e.g., mental and physical health, work performance and
social relationships), this study investigated, using a controlled experimental design, whether it is possi-
ble to increase EI. Participants of the experimental group received a brief empirically-derived EI training
(four group training sessions of two hours and a half) while control participants continued to live nor-
mally. Results showed a significant increase in emotion identification and emotion management abilities
in the training group. Follow-up measures after 6 months revealed that these changes were persistent. No
significant change was observed in the control group. These findings suggest that EI can be improved and
open new treatment avenues.
Ó2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Research devoted to emotional intelligence has now split off
into two distinct perspectives. Both perspectives share the idea
that cognitive abilities are not the unique predictor of successful
adaptation but that emotional competencies have to be taken into
consideration. However, these perspectives markedly differ
regarding their conceptualisation of such emotional competencies
and their measurement (Mikolajczak, Luminet, & Menil, 2006). On
the one hand, ability models (Mayer & Salovey, 1997) conceive EI
as an ability encompassing four dimensions: (a) emotions identifi-
cation; (b) emotions utilization; (c) emotions understanding and
(d) emotions regulation. In this ability perspective, EI is assessed
via intelligence-like tests. On the other hand, trait models (Petrides
& Furnham, 2001) consider EI as a multifaceted construct encom-
passing 13–15 (depending on the model) emotion-related behav-
ioural dispositions thought to affect the ways an individual
would cope with demands and pressures. In this trait perspective,
EI is evaluated via personality-like questionnaires. While ability
tests capture maximal performance, trait tests aim to capture typi-
cal performance (see Petrides & Furnham, 2003).
Past debates on the status of EI as intelligence (ability) or trait
(disposition) has given birth to a tripartite model of EI (see
Mikolajczak, Petrides, Coumans, & Luminet, in press). Briefly, this
model posits three levels of EI: knowledge, abilities and traits.
The knowledge level refers to the complexity and width of emotion
knowledge. The focus is on what people know about emotions and
how to deal with emotion-laden situations. The ability level refers
to the ability to apply emotion knowledge in an emotional situa-
tion and to implement a given strategy. The focus here is not on
what people know but on what they can do. For instance, even
though many people know that distraction is an efficient strategy
to reduce anger, lots of them are simply not able to distract them-
selves when angry. The trait level refers to emotion-related dispo-
sitions, namely, the propensity to behave in a certain way in
emotional situations. The focus here is not on what people know
or can do, but on what they do. For instance, some individuals
may be able to distract themselves from a situation that makes
them angry if explicitly asked to do so, while not managing to dis-
tract themselves of their own volition. These three levels of EI are
loosely connected: knowledge does not always translate into abil-
ities, which, in turn, do not always translate into practice. In view
of this, the training was aimed to modify people’s dispositions.
A growing number of scientific investigations started to empir-
ically measure the effects of EI on life quality, academic/occupa-
tional success, resistance to stress, health and the quality of
social/marital relationships, to name but the few most significant
outcomes. Taken together, these studies indicate that EI is an active
and essential ingredient of life success and happiness.
A vast amount of research has documented a positive
association between trait EI and well-being related variables
(e.g., Petrides, Pita, & Kokkinaki, 2007; Schutte, Malouff, Simunek,
McKenley, & Hollander, 2002). Trait EI is negatively related to
psychopathology (e.g., Malterer, Glass, & Newman, 2008). Trait EI
was also a significant moderator of responses to stress (e.g.,
0191-8869/$ - see front matter Ó2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.paid.2009.01.046
*Corresponding author. Tel.: +32 (0)4 366 3456; fax: +32 (0)4 3662859.
E-mail address: delphine.nelis@ulg.ac.be (D. Nelis).
Personality and Individual Differences 47 (2009) 36–41
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Personality and Individual Differences
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/paid
Mikolajczak & Luminet, 2008; Mikolajczak, Roy, Luminet, Fillée, &
de Timary, 2007).
Student academic commitment and success have also been
related to EI in a variety of studies. Individuals with higher levels
of trait EI get higher test scores and grades (Jaeger, 2003) and
were less likely to have been excluded from school (Petrides,
Frederickson, & Furnham, 2004). Trait EI is implicated in academic
performance and deviant behaviour, with effects that are
particularly relevant to vulnerable students. Finally, ability and
trait EI has been found to be associated with job performance
and occupational success, especially for jobs involving high levels
of interpersonal contacts, such as service workers (sales persons,
nurses, call operators, ...) (see for a review Daus & Ashkanasy,
2005; Van Rooy & Viswesvaran, 2004). At group level, trait EI has
been found to be related to team performance and group cohesive-
ness (see Quoidbach & Hansenne, 2009).
In view of this, interventions designed to improve EI have
recently bloomed particularly among children’s, managers and
subjects with affective difficulties (Matthews, Zeidner, & Roberts,
2002). Despite the huge expansion of EI development methods
and the preliminary evidence for their effectiveness – especially
with children (Zins, Weissberg, Wang, & Walberg, 2004) – ,very
few EI programs are based on a solid theoretical model and even
fewer have been rigorously tested (Matthews et al., 2002). First,
these trainings lack a clear theoretical and methodological ratio-
nale and employ a miscellany of techniques whose psychological
bases are sometimes dubious (Matthews et al., 2002; Matthews,
Zeidner, & Roberts, 2007). Second, they usually target only some
EI dimensions (e.g., target emotion identification but not emotion
management) and add a number of skills which are not considered
as parts of EI, such as problem resolution, alcohol or drugs preven-
tion, and reduction of violence (e.g., Topping, Holmes, & Bremmer,
2000). Third, when evaluations of these programs exist, they are
often limited to subjective impression right after the training given
by teachers for EI training at school or by the director for EI train-
ing at work, without considering the long-term effects (Aber,
Brown, & Henrich, 1999; Goleman, 1995; Matthews et al., 2002).
Finally, none of the EI trainings’ evaluations to date included a con-
trol group.
The main goal of our study is to investigate whether EI can be
improved among young adults. More specifically, we tested, using
a controlled design, the impact of a theoretically based training on
the different components of EI. A second goal of the study is to
determine whether the benefits of the training depend or not on
the initial level of EI.
The intervention developed for this study focused on teaching
theoretical knowledge about emotions and on training participants
to apply specific emotional skills in their everyday life. Sessions
were articulated according to Mayer and Salovey’s (1997) four-
branches model, and empirical findings were systematically used
to inform each teaching module. For example, Scherer’s (2001)
model on the multiple components of emotion and Ekman and
Friesen (1971) work on facial expressions informed a large part
of the perception of emotion in oneself and in others’ sequences
respectively, and findings on effective emotion regulation strate-
gies (Gross, 1998) were used to develop a large part of the emo-
tional regulation training.
2. Method
2.1. Participants
The sample consisted of 37 participants, 19 in the training
group and 18 in the control group. There were 15 women and four
men in the training group with a mean age of 21 years (SD = 3.42).
The control group consisted of 15 women and three men with a
mean age of 20.5 years (SD = 1.46). All participants were psychol-
ogy students, who gave written informed consent to participate
in the study.
2.2. Measures
The effectiveness of the intervention was assessed through a
global measure of trait EI as well as various measures aiming to as-
sess independently the different branches of EI.
Global Trait Emotional Intelligence was assessed using the French
version of the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue;
Petrides, 2009). The TEIQue consisted of 153 items arranged on a 7-
point response scale (from strongly agree to strongly disagree). It
provides scores for 15 subscales, four factors (well-being,self-con-
trol,emotionality, and sociability) and global trait EI. The TEIQue
shows excellent psychometric properties (see Mikolajczak, Lumi-
net, Leroy, & Roy, 2007, for the psychometric properties of the
French adaptation used in this study). In this study, the internal
consistency of the global score was 0.82.
Emotion Regulation (own emotions) was assessed through the
Emotion Regulation Profile Questionnaire (ERP-Q; Mikolajczak,
Nélis, Hansenne, & Quoidbach, 2008; Nélis, Quoidbach, Hansenne,
& Mikolajczak, in preparation). The ERP-Q is a vignette-based mea-
sure comprising 12 scenarios targeting 6 emotion categories: an-
ger/irritation, sadness/nostalgia, fear/anxiety, jealousy/envy,
shame/guilt and joy/plenitude. Each scenario is associated with 6
possible reactions: three considered as adaptive in the literature
(e.g., positive reappraisal, social support seeking, and acceptance)
and three viewed as maladaptive (avoidance, substance abuse,
rumination). Respondents were required to circle, for each sce-
nario, the two strategies they would most likely use and the two
strategies they would most likely not use. Respondents were cred-
ited 1 point when selecting a functional strategy or rejecting a dys-
functional strategy, and 1 point when selecting a dysfunctional
strategy or rejecting a functional strategy. The
a
was 0.72 in the
current sample.
Regulation of others’ emotions was assessed with the Emotional
Management Abilities test (EMA; Freudenthaler & Neubauer,
2005; French adaptation by Nélis (2007)). The EMA contained 42
items, of which 18 assess the ability to manage one’s own emo-
tions (intrapersonal) and 24 assess the ability to manage others’
emotions (interpersonal). Both scales consist of scenarii describing
emotional situations. Respondents had to choose among four pos-
sible reactions, with different levels of efficiency. The efficiency of
each reaction was determined by experts in the field of emotions.
In this study, we have only used items which assess the ability to
manage others’ emotions (
a
= 0.48 for managing others’ emotions).
Emotion identification was measured through the Dimensions of
Openness to Emotional experiences -trait version (DOE; Reicherts,
1999) and the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20; Bagby, Parker, &
Taylor, 1994; French adaptation: Loas, Otmani, Verrier, Fremaux, &
Marchand, 1996).
The DOE measures individual differences in awareness of inter-
nal and external indicators of emotion as well as cognitive/concep-
tual representation of affective states. The measure consisted of a
36-item questionnaire assessing 6 main dimensions of emotion
processing (conceptual representation (REPCON), communication
and expression of emotions (EMOCOM), perception of bodily indi-
cators (PERINT), perception of external bodily indicators (PEREXT)
emotion regulation (REGEMO), normative limitations of emotional
openness (RESNOR)). The internal consistency of the global score
was 0.66 in the present study.
The TAS-20 consists of 20 items responded to on a 5-point scale
(1 = strongly agree to 5 = strongly disagree). It provides a global
score as well as scores on three specific dimensions: difficulty in
D. Nelis et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 47 (2009) 36–41 37
identifying feelings, difficulty in describing feelings, and exter-
nally-oriented thinking. The internal consistency of the global
score was 0.82 in the present study.
Emotional understanding was evaluated by means of the Situa-
tional Test of Emotional Understanding (STEU; MacCann & Roberts,
2008). The STEU is based on the Roseman’s model (2001) of the
emotions system. According to this model, the 17 most common
emotions can be explained by a combination of seven appraisal
dimensions. The STEU comprised 42 items with 14 decontextual-
ized items, 14 workplace-related items and 14 private life-related
items. Each item presents an emotional situation, and participants
had to choose which emotion the situation will most likely elicit.
The internal consistency of this French version was low (
a
= 0.33)
in the present study.
2.3. EI intervention
The EI intervention consisted of four sessions of two and half
hours over a 4-week period. There were two training groups; one
comprising 10 participants and the other one 9 participants. Each
session was at a 1-week interval. This interval allowed participants
to apply what was taught during sessions in their daily life. In con-
trast to other studies that improve EI without theatrical references
and limited to one aspect of EI, the design of our training was based
on Mayer and Salovey’s four-branch model of Elias et al. (1997): (1)
perception, appraisal, and expression of emotion; (2) emotional
facilitation of thinking; (3) understanding and analysing emotions;
(4) reflective regulation of emotion. During the program, tech-
niques to enhance these skills, especially emotional regulation
(intrapersonal and interpersonal) and emotional understanding
were instructed. The content of each session was based on short
lectures, role plays, group discussions, two-person works, and
readings. The participants were also provided with a personal diary
in which they had to report daily one emotional experience. These
emotional experiences had to be analysed in light of the theory ex-
plained in class. The outline of the sessions is set out in the
Appendix.
2.4. Procedure
The participants completed all the measures three times: prior
to session 1, at the end of session 4 (i.e., right after the training),
and 6 months later to have a long-term post training evaluation.
Indeed, research shows that knowledge acquired during group
training can take up to 6 months to translate into applied skills.
As recommended by authorities (see Kirkpatrick, 1998), investiga-
tions of the effectiveness of trainings should therefore also include
a long-term assessment of skills transfer. All participants attended
all the sessions and all of them were blind to their scores through-
out the study. The personal diaries were given to the participants
at the end of the first session and had to be completed daily until
the end of the training. Reminders and readings were given to
the participants after each session. Participants of the control
group completed the same measures as the training group, but
were not exposed to the training.
3. Results
Independent t-tests showed that there were no baseline differ-
ences between the training and the control group on any of the
variables under consideration (see Table 1).
Mixed model group (training vs. control) time (time 1, time 2,
time 3) repeated measures ANOVAs were performed on each mea-
sure, with group as between-subject factor and time as within-
subject factor (cf. Figs. 1–3). In each case, we were looking for a
group time interaction, which would indicate a differential
change for the two groups. Analyses yielded a significant group -
time interaction for the ERP-Q, EMA, and the TAS-20 scales
[(F(2,70) = 5.58, p= .005; F(2,70) = 3, p= .050; F(2,70) = 4.19,
p= .024, respectively] and a marginally significant effect for the
TEIQue [F(2,70) = 2.59, p= 0.08]. No significant group time inter-
action was found for the DOE and the STEU scales [(F(2,70) = 1.40,
p= 0.253; F(2,70) = 0.04, p= 0.961, respectively].
The means, standard deviations and statistics between time 1,
time 2 and time 3 for each variable and each group are shown in
Tables 2–4. The training group showed a significant increase on
the TEIQue (t(18) = 2.29, p=.033), ERP-Q (t(18) =6.81,
p< .001), EMA (t(18) = 3.45, p= .003), DOE (t(18) = 2.33,
p= .031), and a significant decrease in TAS-20 scores
(t(18) = 2.17, p= .043) between time 1 and time 2. No significant
difference was found for the STEU scale (t(18) = 1.75, p= .097)
(see Table 2). The difference between time 2 and time 3 was
non-significant for all variables, suggesting that the improvement
evident in the training group remained stable after 6 months (see
Table 3). The difference between time 1 and time 3 was significant
for all variables suggesting also a long-term increase in the training
group after the training (see Table 4). The control group showed no
significant difference between time 1 and 2, between time 2 and 3
and between time 1 and 3.
In order to determine whether the benefits of the training were
dependent on the initial level of emotional competence, partici-
pants were stratified on initial scores of alexithymia, emotion reg-
ulation (self), and emotion regulation (others). A median split for
each measure was used to create high and low groups for the three
above variables. Split-plot ANOVAs were performed on TAS-20,
EMA, and ERP-Q, with level (High vs. Low) as the between-subject
factor and time (Time 1, 2, and 3) as the within-subject factor. Re-
sults showed no significant three-way interactions (TAS-20:
p= .163; EMA: p= .494; ERP-Q: p= .308) suggesting that the bene-
fits of the training did not depend on the initial level of emotional
competence.
4. Discussion
The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether
EI could be developed among young adults using a proper
Table 1
Means, standard deviations and significance of differences between training and control group prior to EI intervention (TEIQue = Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire; ERP-
Q = Emotion Regulation Profile-Questionnaire; EMA = Emotional Management Abilities; DOE = Dimensions of Openness to Emotional experiences; TAS-20 = Toronto Alexithymia
Scale-20; STEU = Situational Test of Emotional Understanding).
Variables Training group (N= 19) Control group (N= 18)
TEIQue 652.47 (59.41) 661.11(55.81) t(35) = 0.48, p= .631
ERP-Q 20.31 (10.73) 22.11 (11.43) t(35) = 0.49, p= .625
EMA 76.11 (1.38) 76.83 (5.77) t(35) = 0.18, p= .812
DOE 73.68 (10.82) 73.72 (9.13) t(35) = 0.01, p= .991
TAS-20 47.53 (9.31) 44.88 (10.89) t(35) = 0.79, p= .432
STEU 25.84 (2.96) 26.88 (2.67) t(35) = 0.97, p= .338
38 D. Nelis et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 47 (2009) 36–41
experimental design and a theoretically grounded training pro-
gram. To our knowledge, this study is the first attempt to assess
whether EI can be trained in a French-speaking sample. The major
finding of the study is that the training group (but not the control
group) scored significantly higher on trait emotional intelligence
(TEIQue) after the training. Compared to the control group, the
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Time 1 Time 2 Time 3
Emotion Regulation
Training Group
Control Group
Fig. 1. Effect of EI intervention on emotion regulation across three times (time
1 = before training; time 2 = after training; time 3 = 6 months after training) of
evaluation for the two groups (training and control group).
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
Time 1 Time 2 Time 3
Regulation of others' emotions
Training Group
Control Group
Fig. 2. Effect of EI intervention on regulation of others’ emotions across three times
(time 1 = before training; time 2 = after training; time 3 = 6 months after training)
of evaluation for the two groups (training and control group).
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
Time 1 Time 2 Time 3
Alexithymia
Training Group
Control Group
Fig. 3. Effect of EI intervention on alexithymia across three times (time 1 = before
training; time 2 = after training; time 3 = 6 months after training) of evaluation for
the two groups (training and control group).
Table 2
Means, standard deviations and significance of differences between time 1 and time 2
for each variable and each group (TEIQue = Trait Emotional Intelligence Question-
naire; ERP-Q = Emotion Regulation Profile-Questionnaire; EMA = Emotional Manage-
ment Abilities; DOE = Dimensions of Openness to Emotional experiences; TAS-
20 = Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20; STEU = Situational Test of Emotional
Understanding).
Variables Time 1 Time 2
Training group (N = 19)
TEIQue 652.47 (59.41) 673.78 (59.81) t(18) = 2.29, p= .033
ERP-Q 20.31 (10.73) 29.89 (9.76) t(18) = 6.81, p< .001
EMA 76.11 (6.13) 80.31 (5.56) t(18) = 3.45, p= .003
DOE 73.68 (10.82) 77.05 (10.29) t(18) = 2.33, p= .031
TAS-20 47.53 (9.31) 43.68 (9.25) t(18) = 2.17, p= .043
STEU 25.84 (2.96) 27.05 (3.01) t(18) = 1.75, p= .097
Control group (N = 18)
TEIQue 661.11 (55.81) 661.78 (50.11) t(17) = 0.13, p= .898
ERP-Q 22.11 (11.43) 23.77 (12.59) t(17) = 0.72, p= .477
EMA 76.83 (5.77) 77.05 (5.17) t(17) = 0.24, p= .814
DOE 73.72 (9.13) 73.94 (9.66) t(17) = 0.16, p= .871
TAS-20 44.88(10.89) 48.11 (12.36) t(17) = 1.77, p= .097
STEU 26.88 (3.57) 28 (2.67) t(17) = 1.22, p= .235
Table 3
Means, standard deviations and significance of differences between time 2 and time 3
for each variable and each group (TEIQue = Trait Emotional Intelligence Question-
naire; ERP-Q = Emotion Regulation Profile-Questionnaire; EMA = Emotional Manage-
ment Abilities; DOE = Dimensions of Openness to Emotional experiences; TAS-
20 = Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20; STEU = Situational Test of Emotional
Understanding).
Variables Time 2 Time 3
Training group (N = 19)
TEIQue 673.78 (59.81) 685.36 (56.03) t(18) = 1.05, p= .308
ERP-Q 29.89 (9.76) 31.87 (11.70) t(18) = 1.31, p= .205
EMA 80.31 (5.56) 81.16 (5.30) t(18) = 0.61, p= .551
DOE 77.05 (10.29) 78.78 (8.86) t(18) = 0.76, p= .453
TAS-20 43.68 (9.25) 43.05 (6.53) t(18) = 0.41, p= .688
STEU 27.05 (3.01) 27.57 (3.25) t(18) = 0.83, p= .416
Control group (N = 18)
TEIQue 661.78 (50.11) 661.59 (46.09) t(17) = 0.01, p= .998
ERP-Q 23.77 (12.59) 26.00 (11.64) t(17) = 0.02, p= .979
EMA 77.05 (5.17) 78.70 (3.51) t(17) = 1.54, p= .143
DOE 73.94 (9.66) 74.52 (9.79) t(17) = 0.17, p= .859
TAS-20 48.11 (12.36) 46.29 (12.36) t(17) = 0.43, p= .666
STEU 28 (2.67) 28.35 (4.19) t(17) = 0.29, p= .767
Table 4
Means, standard deviations and significance of differences between time 1 and time 3
for each variable and each group (TEIQue = Trait Emotional Intelligence Question-
naire; ERP-Q = Emotion Regulation Profile-Questionnaire; EMA = Emotional Manage-
ment Abilities; DOE = Dimensions of Openness to Emotional experiences; TAS-
20 = Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20; STEU = Situational Test of Emotional
Understanding).
Variables Time 1 Time 3
Training group (N = 19)
TEIQue 652.47 (59.41) 685.36 (56.03) t(18) = 2.25, p= .036
ERP-Q 20.31 (10.73) 31.87 (11.70) t(18) = 4.88, p< .001
EMA 76.11 (6.13) 81.16 (5.30) t(18) = 3.67, p= .002
DOE 73.68 (10.82) 78.78 (8.86) t(18) = 2.60, p= .017
TAS-20 47.52 (9.31) 43.05 (6.53) t(18) = 2.64, p= .016
STEU 25.84 (2.96) 27.57 (3.25) t(18) = 2.45, p= .024
Control group (N = 18)
TEIQue 661.11 (55.81) 661.59 (46.09) t(17) = 0.02, p= .981
ERP-Q 22.11 (11.43) 26.00 (11.64) t(17) = 0.99, p= .325
EMA 76.83 (5.77) 78.70 (3.51) t(17) = 2.02, p= .065
DOE 73.72 (9.13) 74.52 (9.79) t(17) = 0.25, p= .802
TAS-20 44.88 (10.89) 46.29 (12.36) t(17) = 0.35, p= .723
STEU 26.88 (3.57) 28.35 (4.19) t(17) = 1.11, p = .727
D. Nelis et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 47 (2009) 36–41 39
training group showed a significant change in several competences
(emotion identification, emotion management) targeted by our
program. Understanding emotions was not improved and express-
ing and using emotions were not assessed. Apart from emotion
understanding which remained unchanged, the training led to a
significant improvement in emotion identification and emotion
management (self and others’ emotions). The lack of change in
emotional understanding is amazing. One possible explanation is
that our understanding emotion session was not based on Rose-
man’s framework on which STEU was developed. It is noteworthy
that the magnitude of the changes was unrelated to the level of
emotional intelligence prior to the training.
A major finding of this study is that all positive changes remain
significant 6 months after the intervention (while the control group
did not improve over time). That is, the changes were not only evi-
dent on the short-term but persistent on the long-term. In addition,
it is interesting to notice that all the EI variables in this study
slightly improved between time 2 and time 3 (although this effect
is not significant). Thus, future EI training programs might fruitfully
include follow-up coaching sessions to maximize this effect.
Taken together, our results suggest that some emotional abili-
ties and habits may be effectively improved, even using a relatively
short training. However, some aspects of EI like emotional under-
standing was not improved. This finding has important theoretical
and practical implications. At the theoretical level, our results sug-
gest that traits that have shown to be relatively stable over time
can be modified through intensive training. However, as these
traits are precisely relatively stable, it is possible that people would
come back to their ‘‘baseline” after a while if the competences are
not practiced. This should still be investigated and the necessary
steps must be taken if need be (e.g., follow-up sessions every
now and then to maintain the newly-developed skills). At the prac-
tical level, our findings are noteworthy because one’s level of emo-
tional competence (or ‘‘emotional intelligence”) predicts numerous
positive outcomes in the realm of health, social relationships, per-
formance, and psychological well-being (Greven, Chamorro-Prem-
uzic, Arteche, & Furnham, 2008; Schutte, Malouff, Thorsteinsson,
Bhullar, & Rooke, 2007; Smith, Heaven, & Ciarrochi, 2008).
Trait EI theory considers EI as a constellation of emotion-related
self-perceptions and dispositions located at the lower levels of per-
sonality hierarchies (Petrides & Furnham, 2001). One tenet of this
conceptualisation is that there are situations in which high trait
EI scores will be linked with maladaptive outcomes (Petrides &
Furnham, 2003; Sevdalis, Petrides, & Harvey, 2007). For example,
Petrides and Furnham (2003) found that high trait EI participants
exhibited greater sensitivity to the mood induction procedure. In-
deed, high trait EI participants have greater mood deterioration
than low trait EI participants following the presentation of a short
disturbing clip. High trait EI individuals may have an increased
sensitivity to affect-laden stimuli over their low trait EI peers. High
trait EI individuals also showed a reduction of positive affect and
an increase of negative affect over low trait EI individuals after
recalling a past decision that led to intense negative affect. In con-
sequence, this increased sensitivity may not be beneficial in all
contexts and can lead to an increased susceptibility to interference
from emotion evoking stimuli in learning or memory tasks (Pet-
rides & Furnham, 2003).
This study breaks new ground in several ways, which leaves
ample room for future research to probe or refine its findings. First,
the sample was small and predominantly composed of females and
included students from the same faculty (i.e., psychology), which
limits the generalizability of the results. Second, our control group
was composed of matched participants who did not take part in
any group activity. This experimental design can inadvertently
have created experimenter demand, expectation of improvement,
or nonspecific effects related to processes such as contact with a
caring instructor or social support and friendship provided by the
group. Third, no instrument has been included to assess the
improvement in the Emotional Facilitation branch of the EI model
because such instruments are not available except MSCEIT but
with poor psychometric properties (Rossen, Kranzler, & Algina,
2008). Fourth, the low internal consistency showed by some of
the instruments (i.e., EMA, STEU) limits the reliability of the re-
sults. However, results showing an improvement on almost all
the dimensions of EI lasting over 6 months advocate for a real ef-
fect of the training beside these potential biases.
Future work would benefit from replicating these results with a
larger and more heterogeneous sample as well as from directly
controlling nonspecific effects and expectancies by comparing
the present training to other group or self-change activities. Addi-
tionally, future research projects on EI development might inter-
estingly include some objective measures of individual
differences in emotional processing (e.g., cortisol, frontal asymme-
try, fMRI changes) and some measures of EI correlates (e.g., health,
social or performance-related outcomes).
Overall, the results are promising as they suggest that, with a
proper methodology relying on the latest scientific knowledge
about emotion and emotional processing, some facets of EI can
be enhanced but not all. Potential application of this intervention
in health, educational, and organisational settings offers a new ap-
proach in developing and promoting human fulfilment.
Appendix. Outline of EI training sessions
Session 1: Understanding emotions
Role play illustrating the importance of emotions and EI.
Introductions/Welcome/Explanation of the sessions and the use
of the personal diary.
Explanation of key concepts (emotions, emotional intelligence).
Summary and homework.
Session 2: Identifying emotions
Review of previous session and homework.
Identifying one’s emotions using three doors (i.e., physiological
activation, cognitions and action tendencies in Scherer’s five
components of emotion): theory and practice.
Identifying others’ emotions through facial expression decoding:
drill with the METT program.
Identifying others’ emotions (continue): asking the right ques-
tion and empathic.
Communication.
Summary and homework.
Session 3: Expressing and using emotions
Review of previous session and homework.
How to express emotions: facts – emotions – need – positive
solutions.
Role play.
Using the power of positive emotions: how to improve one’s
positive feelings (e.g., gratefulness).
Using emotions to solve problems: the emotional roadmap.
Summary and homework.
Session 4: Managing emotions
Review of previous session and homework.
Coping strategies and their effectiveness: theory and group
discussion.
40 D. Nelis et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 47 (2009) 36–41
Positive reappraisal: role play and drill.
Mind–body connections and relaxation exercises.
Summary/Questions/Evaluation.
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ÚVOD „Premýšľam, či medicína je aj moje poslanie. Cítim, že potrebujem byť celý život v kontakte s ľuďmi a pomáhať im. Zaujíma ma biológia, ľudské telo. Bola som na DOD a bola som uchvátená anatomickým múzeom. Ale stále to zvažujem, lebo ako vieme, nie je to sranda a ja sa obávam či by som to zvládala. Také náročné povolanie. Či to ozaj je moja cesta, stále ma to mučí, som hrozne nerozhodná a chcem mať istotu. Každý večer sa modlím, aby mi Pán naznačil, že čo je moja cesta, pretože moje srdce túži naplniť jeho dielo, nech je akékoľvek. Ďakujem za každú rozumnú odpoveď a úprimnú snahu poradiť.“ (Mccaffe, 2016, neupravené) Spokojnosť jednotlivca s jeho kariérou je jedným z dôležitých aspektov osobného šťastia. Rozhodovanie sa ohľadom kariéry je pre adolescentov príležitosťou k nasmerovaniu svojho života k potencionálnej životnej spokojnosti. Podľa štatistík OECD za rok 2011 strávi priemerný Slovák 36% dňa prácou. Práca a spokojnosť s prácou sú dôležitými aspektmi celkovej životnej spokojnosti. Pre adolescentov predstavuje kariérové rozhodovanie dôležitú výzvu. Majú za sebou prvé rozhodnutie z konca štúdia na základnej škole. Toto rozhodovanie je často silnejšie vedené druhými významnými ľuďmi (najmä rodičmi), prípadne je rozhodnutie o špecializácii odložené prostredníctvom výberu gymnázia. Adolescenti sú opätovne konfrontovaní s kariérovým rozhodovaním počas stredoškolského štúdia. Významným obdobím, najmä u žiakov gymnázií súvisiace s kariérovým rozhodovaním, sú posledné dva ročníky stredoškolského štúdia, kedy si vyberajú profiláciu maturitných predmetov a následne zvažujú svoje budúce smerovanie v štúdiu či prechod na trh práce. Podľa štatistiky Centra vedecko-technických informácií SR ukončilo v roku 2017 gymnaziálne štúdium 12 086 absolventov a 32 071 absolvovalo štúdium na stredných odborných školách a konzervatóriách (Štatistická ročenka, 2018). Z týchto štatistík vyplýva, že až 44 157 adolescentov mohlo byť v uplynulom roku v nejakom rozsahu konfrontovaných s rozhodnutím ohľadom ich kariéry. Z absolventov gymnázia pokračovalo vo vysokoškolskom štúdiu od akademického roka 2017/18 10 499 žiakov. Z absolventov stredných odborných škôl a konzervatórií pokračovalo vo vysokoškolskom štúdiu 10 647 žiakov (Štatistická ročenka, 2018). 87% absolventov gymnázií a 33% absolventov stredných odborných škôl a konzervatórií pokračovalo v tom istom roku vo vysokoškolskom štúdiu. Celkovo je to približne 48% absolventov stredoškolského štúdia, ktorí si realizovali kariérové rozhodnutia ohľadom ich vysokoškolského štúdia. S kariérovým rozhodovaním adolescentov sa môže spájať viacero ťažkostí i napriek tomu, že možnosť voľby sa spája so slobodou. Veľa ľudí uprednostňuje situáciu, kedy majú k dispozícii veľký počet možností. Napriek tomu platí, že ak majú ľudia k dispozícii veľa možností, je menej pravdepodobné, že sa budú vedieť rozhodnúť. A ak sa rozhodnú, budú so svojou voľbou menej spokojní (Iyengar & Lepper, 2000). Čím viac možností majú na výber, tým väčšie budú mať očakávania, že sa im podarí nájsť dokonalé rozhodnutie. Taktiež však platí, že čím viac možností majú jednotlivci na výber, tým menšia je pravdepodobnosť, že sa im podarí vybrať tú najlepšiu alternatívu. Po rozhodnutí, keď bol k dispozícii veľký počet možností, sa často zvyšuje neistota ohľadom správnosti voľby nasledovaná pocitom sklamania a uvažovaním o nevybraných možnostiach (Schwartz, 2004). Náročnosť rozhodovania sa dotýka i kariérového rozhodovania adolescentov. Ťažkosti v kariérovom rozhodovaní často vytvárajú prekážky pre optimálne rozhodovanie sa adolescentov. Predstavujú neželanú súčasť riešenia kariérového problému a môžu viesť k zlyhaniu v procese kariérového rozhodovania. Technické, sociologické a ekonomické zmeny posledných rokov vytvorili zložitý svet, v ktorom sa sťažuje schopnosť adolescentov zodpovedať si otázky o tom, kým chcú byť v oblasti sveta práce a čo budú robiť v meniacom sa svete práce (Di Fabio, Palazzeschi, Levin & Gati, 2015). V predkladanej monografii sa zameriavam na kariérové rozhodovanie adolescentov. Napriek tomu, že sa môže javiť ako prirodzené popisovať a analyzovať kariérové rozhodovanie adolescentov z perpektívy teórií rozhodovania, tento prístup nebol adoptovaný v kariérovom poradenstve ako dominantný teoretický rámec. V oblasti kariérového poradenstva dominujú teórie kariérového vývinu, ktoré sa zameriavajú na vývinové okolnosti, v rámci ktorých sa kariérové rozhodovanie uskutočňuje. Tieto vývinové okolnosti zahrňujú zmeny, ktoré nástávajú v preferenciách jednotlivca, kariérovú zrelosť a adaptabilitu, a dopady týchto zmien na kariérové rozhodovanie. Druhý dominujúci prístup v kariérovom poradenstve reprezentuje model zhody medzi osobnosťou a prostredím („Person-Environment Fit“). Tento prístup sa zameriava na zhodu medzi jednotlivcom a jeho prostredím, a teda na dôsledky procesu kariérového rozhodovania (Gati & Tal, 2008). Cieľom predkladanej monografie je poskytnúť čitateľovi informácie objasňujúce proces kariérového rozhodovania adolescentov, a tým rozšíriť poznanie o jedinečných črtách rozhodovacieho procesu v oblasti kariéry u adolescentov. Na proces kariérového rozhodovania budem nahliadať z dvoch dominantných perspektív. Prvou perspektívou budú ťažkosti, ktoré sa u adolescentov spájajú s kariérovým rozhodovaním. Druhou perspektívou budú strátegie, ktoré adolescenti používajú pri realizácii kariérových rozhodnutí. Porozumenie procesuálnej stránke kariérového rozhodovania adolescentov predstavuje z môjho pohľadu dôležitý faktor pri kariérovom poradenstve. Identifikovanie jedinečnej konštelácie ťažkostí z hľadiska aktuálnej fázy kariérového rozhodovania, ako i identifikovanie adaptívnych a maladaptívnych stratégií používaných pri kariérových rozhodnutiach, môže vytvárať priestor pre zacielenejšie a efektívnejšie intervencie kariérových poradcov a psychológov. Druhým cieľom monografie je zdôrazniť relatívne silný podiel osobnostných a emočných faktorov pri realizácii kariérových rozhodnutí adolescentmi. Budem predkladať argumenty podložené výskumnými zisteniami, že niektoré temperamentové osobnostné črty môžu vytvárať predispozíciu k ťažkostiam v kariérovom rozhodovaní a k používaniu adaptívnych, ale i maladaptívnych stratégií kariérového rozhodovania. Zároveň však vyzdvihnem význam viacerých osobnostných čŕt a kompetencií, ktoré pod strešným označením ako emočná inteligencia, môžu facilitovať využívanie adaptívnych stratégií kariérového rozhodovania. Adolescenti sú v procese rozhodovania citliví voči emočným vplyvom a vplyvom sociálneho prostredia. Výskum emočných a sociálnych kompetencií vytvára významný príspevok k rozvoju adaptívneho kariérového rozhodovania. Monografia prináša analýzu zahraničných výskumných zistení, ako i prezentáciu vlastných výskumných zistení na vzorkách žiakov slovenských stredných a vysokých škôl ohľadom ich ťažkostí v kariérovom rozhodovaní, preferovaných stratégiách kariérového rozhodovania, ako i viacerých osobnostných a emočných korelátov procesu rozhodovania sa adolescentov. V prvej kapitole po zadefinovaní kľúčových konceptov týkajúcich sa kariérového rozhodovania adolescentov priblížim špecifiká rozhodovania sa adolescentov z ontogenetického hľadiska vzhľadom na charakteristiky ich spôsobov myslenia, formovania identity, hodnoty, ale i ich vnímanie rizika, toleranciu k neistote a najmä ovplyvniteľnosť ich rozhodovania emočnými stavmi a vrstovníkmi. Druhá kapitola predstavuje náčrt vývoja prístupu k rozhodovaniu ako k fenoménu medziodborového záujmu. Od päťdesiatych rokov dvadsiateho storočia sa stala problematika rozhodovania predmetom skúmania matematikov, štatistikov a ekonómov. Vznikali tzv. normatívne teórie rozhodovania, ktoré sa snažili nastaviť etalón logicky optimálneho rozhodovania. Reálne experimentálne pokusy však spozorovali, že ľudia sa pri rozhodovaní neriadia prísnymi zákonmi logiky. I keď nie sú ľudia pri rozhodovaní primárne iracionálni, ich racionalita je obmedzená (Simon, 1955). Pod vplyvom výskumu pôsobenia heuristík boli popísané viaceré sklony ku kognitívnym omylom v procese posudzovania a rozhodovania. Priblížim vybrané heuristiky a zasadím ich do kontextu kariérového rozhodovania. Poznanie kognitívnych omylov, ktorých sa ľudia systematicky v procese rozhodovania dopúšťajú pod vplyvnom automatických procesov spracovávania informácií, pokladám za podstatnú súčasť poznania odborníkov venujúcich sa kariérovému poradenstvu. Približujem i alternatívny prístup k nazeraniu na význam heuristík v procese rozhodovania. Adaptívne heuristiky môžu slúžiť k efektívnejšiemu rozhodovaniu ohľadom kariéry. Vychádzajúc z princípu „menej je viac“ vytvárajú adaptívne heuristiky priestor pre realizáciu dostatočne dobrých (i keď možno nie úplne ideálnych) rozhodnutí spôsobom, ktorý rešpektuje kognitívne a iné limity bežného človeka. V oblasti aplikácie poznatkov heuristík a sklonov ku kognitívnym chybám do kariérového rozhodovania aktuálne absentuje empirický výskum. Verím, že v tejto oblasti bude nadväzovať ďalší výskum kognitívnych omylov v procese kariérového rozhodovania, ako i vytváranie postupov pre kariérové rozhodovanie využívajúce adaptívne heuristiky. Jedným z nich, ktorý predstavím, je model Preskríning-Hĺbková explorácia-Voľba (PIC- Prescreening, In-depth exploration, and Choice), ktorý ponúka preskriptívny pohľad na kariérové rozhodovanie. V tretej kapitole sa zameriavam na ťažkosti v kariérovom rozhodovaní sa adolescentov. Prezentujem dva prístupy, ktoré odlišujú vývinovú nerozhodnutosť a nerozhodnosť ako osobnostnú črtu. Vývinovú nerozhodnutosť približujem prostredníctvom Taxonómie ťažkostí v kariérovom rozhodovaní pochádzajúcu od Gatiho, Krauszovej a Osipowa (1996), ktorá odlišuje ťažkosti v kariérovom rozhodovaní charakterizované nepripravenosťou na kariérovú voľbu, nedostatočné informácie a nekonzistentné informácie ako výsledok konfliktov. K tejto problematike prezentujem výsledky vlastného výskumu výskytu ťažkostí v kariérovom rozhodovaní žiakov slovenských stredných škôl. Následne sa zaoberám emočnými a osobnostnými aspektami ťažkostí v kariérovom rozhodovaní. Sakaová, Gati a Kelly (2008) vypracovali Taxonómiu emočných a osobnostných aspektov ťažkostí v kariérovom rozhodovaní, ktorá odlišuje pesimistické pohľady, úzkosť a identitu a sebaobraz ako kľúčové osobnostné a emočné zdroje ťažkostí v kariérovom rozhodovaní. V štvrtej kapitole presuniem pozornosť na štýly a stratégie kariérového rozhodovania. Vychádzam z procesného prístupu k rozhodovaniu, kde sa nenahliada na kariérové rozhodovanie z hľadiska jeho dôsledkov. Za kľúčový determinant pozitívnych dôsledkov kariérového rozhodovania je považovaný adaptívny proces kariérového rozhodovania. Stručne povedané, ak sa adolescenti budú rozhodovať adaptívnymi spôsobmi, zvyšujú si pravedepodobnosť pozitívnych dôsledkov rozhodovania. Podrobnejšie predstavím Profil kariérového rozhodovania Gatiho, Landmanovej, Davidovitchovej, Asulin-Peretzovej a Gadassiovej (2012), výsledky nášho výskumu o preferovaných stratégiách kariérového rozhodovania sa slovenských žiakov stredných škôl a podporím tento model výsledkami vlastného výskumu vzhľadom na spokojnosť a prežívanú ľútosť nad kariérovým rozhodovaním sa adolescentov. Piata kapitola je venovaná osobnostným korelátom kariérového rozhodovania. Vychádzam z modelu osobnosti podľa Veľkej päťky, ktorý je relatívne akceptovaným modelom zoskupenia piatich osobnostných čŕt. Sumarizujeme výskumné zistenia o vzťahu osobnostných čŕt – Neurotizmu, Extraverzie, Otvorenosti, Prívetivosti a Svedomitosti – k rozličným aspektom rozhodovania. Následne výskumne overujem súvislosť uvedených osobnostných čŕt k ťažkostiam v kariérovom rozhodovaní, ako i k používaniu adaptívnych a maladaptívnych stratégií kariérového rozhodovania žiakmi stredných škôl. Mojím cieľom je poukázať na dispozíciu emočne labilnejších, introvertnejších a menej svedomitých adolescentov k prežívaniu viacerých ťažkostí v kariérovom rozhodovaní, ako i ich tendenciu k používaniu maladaptívnych štýlov kariérového rozhodovania. Tieto výsledky zároveň zdôrazňujú výrazný podiel emócií pri (nielen) kariérovom rozhodovaní. Šiesta kapitola predstavuje problematiku emočnej inteligencie v kontexte kariérového rozhodovania. Aktuálne sa vďaka neuropsychologickým výskumom dozvedáme viac o pôsobení emócií na rozhodovanie (viac napr. v našich predchádzajúcich publikáciách Jurišová & Pilárik, 2012; Pilárik, 2016; Jurišová, 2016; Šlepecký, Kotianová, Chupáčová, & Pavlov, 2016; Gallová, 2016). Tieto poznatky zasadzujeme do kontextu kariérového rozhodovania prostredníctvom konceptu emočnej inteligencie. V prvom rade popisujem viaceré pohľady na emočnú inteligenciu a výskumné zistenia ohľadom súvislosti emočnej inteligencie ku kariérovému rozhodovaniu. Prezentujem výsledky výskumov, ktoré podporujú významnú rolu vnímanej a črtovej emočnej inteligencie v kariérovom rozhodovaní. V záverečnej siedmej kapitole ponúkam niekoľko námetov vyplývajúcich z predchádzajúcich poznatkov a výskumných zistení pre kariérové poradenstvo. Zameriavam sa na potrebu rozvíjať programy na predchádzanie kognitívnym chybám v kariérovom rozhodovaní. Poukazujem na možnosť identifikovať adolescentov so zvýšeným rizikom k ťažkostiam v kariérovom rozhodovaní prostredníctvom poznania štruktúry ich osobnostných čŕt. Podrobnejší rozbor emočných a osobnostných zdrojov ťažkostí v kariérovom rozhodovaní, ako i posúdenie individuálneho profilu stratégií kariérového rozhodovania ponúkajú informácie pre presnejšie zacielenie kariérových intervencií a psychologického poradenstva. V neposlednom rade poukazujem na koncept emočnej inteligencie, ktorý vytvára prostredníctvom rozvoja emočných a sociálnych kompetencií základňu pre zvyšovanie kvality rozhodovacieho procesu pri kariérových voľbách. Verím, že nasledujúce riadky ponúknu čitateľovi nové informácie o procese kariérového rozhodovania sa adolescentov. Zároveň si uvedomujem limity predkladaných tém, ktoré sú primárne zamerané na osobnostné a emočné aspekty kariérového rozhodovania adolescentov. Toto užšie zameranie považujem za prirodzený dôsledok toho, že svoje závery zakladám na svojich (prip. realizovaných v spoluautorstve) výskumných štúdiách. Dúfam, že si monografia nájde svojich priaznivcov u odbornej verejnosti, ale inšpirácie môžu nachádzať i kariéroví poradcovia, poradenskí psychológovia, pedagógovia poskytujúci poradenstvo žiakom, ako i rodičia a samotní adolescenti zažívajúci ťažkosti pri svojom rozhodovaní.
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During the past decade, emotional intelligence has been subjected to both scientific and public scrutiny. Numerous articles have been published on the topic in both academic journals and the popular press, testifying to the potential usefulness of emotional intelligence in psychology, business, education, the home, and the workplace. However, until now there has been no systematic synthesis that grounds emotional intelligence in contemporary theory while simultaneously sorting scientific approaches from popular fads and pseudoscience. Bringing together experts from a variety of sub-disciplines, this book aims to integrate recent research on emotional intelligence. The contributors address a set of focused questions concerning theory, measures, and applications: How does emotional intelligence relate to personality? What is the optimal approach to testing emotional intelligence? How can emotional intelligence be trained? In the final section of the book, the editors distill and synthesize the main points made by these experts, and set forth an agenda for building a science of emotional intelligence in the future.
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