Trait Emotional Intelligence: Evaluating the theoretical construct, its relationship to other psychological variables, and potential interventions to enhance it.
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AbstractResearch suggests that there are now two distinct approaches to Emotional Intelligence (EI): ability and trait. To date, however, the literature indicates that the construct remains poorly defined and not always adequately measured. Focusing on trait EI, the current thesis identifies a number of research questions that centre on what it is that defines EI in relation to existing definitions and other constructs, namely, happiness, self-esteem, mood and personality. Moreover, a programme of empirical study investigates whether a training intervention can enhance levels of EI and thus contribute to the emerging applied field of enquiry. This has been achieved through the employment of a series of studies. The initial study used the Repertory Grid Technique (RGT) and Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to generate a definition of EI, which directed this thesis towards alignment with the trait approach. The second study aimed to identify correlations and explore possible predictor variables through the application of Pearson’s r and Hierarchical Regression analysis. Moreover, a Mediation and Moderation analysis investigated whether EI has a mediating or moderating role when combined with other predictors. Two further experimental studies examined whether EI could be experimentally enhanced through a programme of relaxation and positive thinking when compared with a control group engaged in a non-demanding reading task. The results of the first study produced a definition of EI that included descriptions of work-related qualities with the second study yielding results of high correlations between EI, happiness and self-esteem, which were also identified as predictor variables. EI was found to act as a mediator and moderator. Analysis of Variance generated results for the first experimental study that showed overall non-significant interactions. To investigate beyond these findings, the second programme showed that the training programme induced positive changes. It was concluded that, overall, the results contribute to a definition beyond existing definitions of EI, demonstrating EI’s strong associations particularly with happiness, self-esteem and, its mediating and moderating role with other predictors. Primarily, the results from the second experimental study demonstrate the potential of EI in the applied field, including education, work and health.
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy