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Emotional intelligence, well-being and personality: an empirical study of their interrelationship

University of Southampton
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  • Hd28 Management. Industrial Management
  • Psychology


Over the last decade the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI) has aroused significant academic and practitioner interest. Within the literature there has been extensive debate around the validity of the construct and, in particular, its ability to add explanation of variance in criteria beyond that provided by personality factors. Many studies do, however, provide evidence that EI is significantly related to performance, progression and leadership. More recently evidence has also been provided which demonstrates that EI is a significant factor in explaining individual emotional reactions to work contexts (e.g. job satisfaction, stress at work etc). This has led to some authors proposing linkages between EI and the emerging field of positive psychology, and, in particular, the concept of Well-Being. This paper reports a study in which data on EI, Personality (using the "Big 5" model) and Well-Being were obtained from a sample of 150 in-work managers. The Well-Being scales employed covered both Subjective Well-Being and Psychological Well-Being (SWB and PWB) as well as a combined measure. Analyses of the data demonstrated significant relationships between EI and measures of Well-Being as well as a number of relationships between "Big 5" personality factors and Well-Being measures. However, EI explained more variance in Well-Being measures than personality factors alone. This finding provides important evidence to support the validity of the EI construct as operationalised employing a "mixed model". The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of these findings together with limitations of the study. Areas for future research in order to explore and extend the findings are considered.

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