Trait emotional intelligence predicts happiness, but how? An empirical study in adolescents and young adults
Keywords:emotional intelligence, happiness, Greek students, path analysis, Emotional Intelligence Scale, Oxford Happiness Inventory
The study aimed at investigating how trait emotional intelligence (EI) dimensions intertwine to predict components of happiness. A sample of 280 high school and university students was tested with the Emotional Intelligence Scale and the Oxford Happiness Inventory. Regarding the inner structure of trait EI, findings suggested that certain dimensions (Appraisal and Utilization of emotions) predict others (Optimism/mood regulation, Social ability), thus confirming that there are lower- and higher-level dimensions in the trait EI continuum. Also, path analysis confirmed that specific EI dimensions predict happiness in a distinctive mode. First, each of the components of happiness was directly predicted by at least one EI dimension: Vigor and personal efficacy was predicted by Appraisal of emotions; Positive affect, enjoyment and fun and also Life satisfaction were predicted by both Optimism/mood regulation, and Social ability; Social interest was predicted by Social ability. Second, the happiness components were also indirectly predicted by the lower-level EI dimensions via the higher-level EI dimensions they affect. These findings suggest that focusing on developing the basic EI dimensions may be the key to designing effective training programs that will result in enhancing happiness.
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