RESEARCH PAPER
Emotional intelligence predicts peer-rated social competence above and beyond personality traits
 
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SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Faculty in Sopot, Poland
Submission date: 2016-08-18
Final revision date: 2016-11-25
Acceptance date: 2016-11-28
Online publication date: 2016-12-16
Publication date: 2017-04-01
 
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2017;5(2):91–101
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Background
This study investigated the relationship between trait emotional intelligence (EI) and social competences (SC), which determine effective functioning in three types of social situations: intimate situations, situations of social exposure and situations requiring self-assertion. Social competences were assessed using a peer nomination method. It was hypothesized that trait EI predicts SC above and beyond personality traits.

Participants and procedure
Data were collected from among 111 adolescents (46.95% girls). The study was conducted among five classes from three public high schools. Participants first completed the Personality Inventory NEO-FFI and the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire-Short Form (TEIQue-SF). Subsequently, the descriptions of three different persons were presented to the participants. Each description concerned one of the SC: intimate competence, social exposure competence and assertive competence. Participants were asked to nominate three classmates who suited each description best.

Results
A series of hierarchical regression analyses was performed. Personality traits and trait EI were regressed on each competence. Analyses involved two-step hierarchical regressions, entering personality traits at step 1 and adding trait EI at step 2. The results demonstrated that personality traits explained a substantial portion of the variance in each SC. Beyond these variables, trait EI was significant as a predictor of nominations for each SC, explaining an additional amount of the unique variance.

Conclusions
The results complement existing evidence that trait EI contributes to successful social functioning. The relationships between trait EI and SC remained statistically significant even after controlling for Big Five variance. The results demonstrate incremental validity of trait EI over and above personality traits.
 
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