Emotional Intelligence and Its Relation to Appraisal, Coping and Stress

Kunst, H. E. (Maastricht University), McCann, C. (University of Sydney)

It has been proposed that people high in Emotional Intelligence (EI) are better able to deal with stress leading to better or more effective coping. Yet the mechanisms linking EI and regulatory responses are not well documented. A sample of 96 first-year University students were subjected to a lab-induced stressor (a mathematics test intentionally designed to be too difficult). Higher EI was expected to be positively associated with post-task appraisal of controllability, problem-focused coping and reappraisal, and resilience to stress (i.e. smaller difference in pre- to post-task stress measurement). EI was moreover expected to predict lower reactivity to stress, mediated by type of coping and situational appraisals. We found that these hypotheses are not supported. Relations between EI, coping, appraisal and stress exist at baseline, but not following the experimental manipulation. Results will be discussed highlighting that individual differences including EI seem to be influential in everyday, non-stressful situations, but not in extreme stress-situations.


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Personality and Personality Development