The role of gender in the relationship between emotional intelligence and psychological well–being / Taryn S. Steyn
Steyn, Taryn Samantha
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The relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and psychological well–being has been empirically and theoretically elaborated. This suggests that highly emotional intelligent individuals are likely to experience higher psychological well–being if compared to individuals with lower EI (Gallagher & Vella–Brodrick, 2008; Mikolajczak, Nelis, Hansenne, & Quoidbach, 2008; Mavroveli, Petrides, Rieffe, & Baker,2007; Schutte, Malouff, Thorsteinsson, Bhullar, & Rooke, 2007; Zeidner, Matthews, & Roberts, 2009). On the other hand, the role of gender has been found to be influential as well as contradictory in both EI and psychological well–being. Gender has been shown to differentially influence both emotional intelligence and psychological well–being (Castro–Schilo & Kee, 2010; McIntryre, 2010; Schutte, Malouf, Simunek, McKenly & Holland, 2002;Thomsen, Mehlesen, Viidik, Sommerlund & Zachariae, 2005). Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the role of gender as moderator in the relationship between emotional intelligence and aspects of psychological well–being (positive affect, negative affect and satisfaction with life). EI was measured with the Emotional Intelligence Scale (Schutte et al., 1998) while psychological well–being was measured with the Satisfaction With Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen & Griffen (1985) and the Affectometer 2 (Kamman & Flett, 1983). A cross–sectional survey design based on the study by Williams, Wissing, Rothmann and Temane (2009) was implemented after informed consent had been obtained. A sample of 459 participants consisting of both males (n= 59.5%) and females (n=32.9%) with an average age between 25 to 44 years. A 2–step hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to determine, in the first place, the influence of EI on psychological well–being, followed by the interaction between gender and EI. The findings indicate that gender moderated only the relationship between EI and negative affect. The influence of EI on the two dependent variables, namely positive affect and satisfaction with life, was not moderated by gender. The conclusion is thus made that gender’s role as a moderator between EI and psychological well–being is evaluated only between EI’s ability to reduce the perception and experience of negative components on one’s life. Limitations of the study include the use of a cross–sectional design that lacks continuous monitoring of variables across time. The use of self–report measures indicating only subjective self–report by the participants themselves without other triangulating or collateral information is another limitation. As well as the lack of control for other moderator variables such as age, urban–rural context, and educational attainment that may play a role, but have not been taken into account. Future research can investigate other possible predicting variables (e.g. interpersonal relationships, social skills, coping and social support) on gender as moderator. These predicting variables can possibly explain additional variance in psychological well–being. The outcomes of the moderating role of gender in the relationship between EI and psychological well–being can be investigated by means of alternative measures that would explore the different levels of functioning along the mental health continuum for males and females alike.
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