Emotional intelligence moderates the relationship between stress and mental health
Despite a great deal of popular interest and the development of numerous training programs in emotional intelligence (EI), some researchers have argued that there is little evidence that EI is both useful and different from other, well established constructs. We hypothesized that EI would make a unique contribution to understanding the relationship between stress and three important mental health variables, depression, hopelessness, and suicidal ideation. University students (n=302) participated in a cross-sectional study that involved measuring life stress, objective and self-reported emotional intelligence, and mental health. Regression analyses revealed that stress was associated with: (1) greater reported depression, hopelessness, and suicidal ideation among people high in emotional perception (EP) compared to others; and (2) greater suicidal ideation among those low in managing others' emotions (MOE). Both EP and MOE were shown to be statistically different from other relevant measures, suggesting that EI is a distinctive construct as well as being important in understanding the link between stress and mental health.