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<a href=Personality and Individual Differences 55 (2013) 909–914 Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect Personality and Individual Differences journal homepag e: www.elsevier.c om/locate/paid Emotional intelligence and resilience Tamera R. Schneider , Joseph B. Lyons , Steven Khazon Wright State University, 3640 Col. Glenn Hwy., Dayton, OH 45435, United States Air Force Research Laboratory, 875 N. Randolph St., Arlington, VA, United States article info Article history: Received 30 January 2013 Received in revised form 10 July 2013 Accepted 15 July 2013 Available online 6 August 2013 Keywords: Emotional intelligence Appraisal Affect Physiology Positive psychology abstract This study examined the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and the stress process. Partic- ipants ( N = 126) completed an ability-based measure of EI and then engaged with two stressors. We assessed stressor appraisals, emotions, and physiological stress responses over time. We expected that higher EI would facilitate stress responses in the direction of challenge, rather than threat. As expected, EI facets were related to lower threat appraisals, more modest declines in positive affect, less negative affect and challenge physiological responses to stress. However, findings differed for men and women. This study provides predictive validity that EI facilitates stress resilience. 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. 1. Emotional intelligence and resilience Emotional intelligence (EI), one’s ability to perceive, integrate, understand, and manage emotions, has received a great deal of attention ( Zeidner, Roberts, & Matthews, 2004 ). Popular literature promises benefits of EI ( Goleman, 1995 ), but these have not been established ( Landy, 2005; Zeidner et al., 2004 ). Debates over con- ceptualization and measurement have delayed research ( Davies, Stankov, & Roberts, 1998; Matthews, Zeidner, & Roberts, 2007 ). Mixed (trait) models describe EI as skills, personality, and well- being ( Bar-On, 1997; Goleman, 1995 ), whereas ability-based mod- els describe EI as an intelligence comprising emotional abilities ( Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 1999, 2000 ). To be labeled intelligence a construct must be defined as a set of abilities, related to other measures of cognitive ability, and develop with age ( Carroll, 1993 ). Trait-based conceptualizations do not meet these criteria (e.g., Roberts, MacCann, Matthews, & Zeidner, 2010; Schulze, Wil- helm, & Kyllonen, 2007 ), but ability-based conceptualizations do ( Austin, 2010; Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 1999 ). The MSCEIT is the most validated ability measure ( Matthews et al., 2007; Roberts et al., 2010 ), and its four-factor framework stems from theory (e.g., MacCann & Roberts, 2008 ). We examined the influence of ability- based EI on stress responses – appraisals, emotions, and physiology as the stress process unfolds over time. ⇑ Corresponding author. Address: Wright State University, Department of Psychology, 335 Fawcett, Dayton, OH 45435, United States. Tel.: +1 (937) 775 2391; fax: +1 (937) 775 3347. E-mail address: tamera.schneider@wright.edu (T.R. Schneider). 0191-8869/$ - see front matter 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.07.460 Emotional intelligence comprises a set of four emotional skills including accurately perceiving emotions, integrating emotions with cognition, understanding emotional causes and conse- quences, and managing emotions for personal adjustment ( Mayer & Salovey, 1997; Salovey, Bedell, Detweiler, & Mayer, 1999; Salo- vey, Kokkonen, Lopes, & Mayer, 2004 ). These skills build hierarchi- cally, from the ability to perceive emotions up to managing emotions. Perceiving emotions includes the ability to accurately identify and express emotions, which helps to discriminate be- tween hospitable and hostile situations. The ability to generate and use emotions to enhance thinking includes altering emotion to redirect cognitive processes, obtain new perspectives, and en- hance problem-solving or creativity. Emotional understanding in- cludes the ability to understand emotional information, the manner in which they combine, and their causes and conse- quences. Emotional management includes the ability to be open to feelings and modulate them to facilitate growth, even during duress. People experiencing specific and intense emotional changes should benefit from EI ( Barrett, Gross, Christensen, & Ben- venuto, 2001 ), however research on EI and stress outcomes is lacking. The stress process begins with evaluations, or appraisals, denot- ing our interpretation of an impending stressful situation ( Lazarus, 1999; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984 ). Primary appraisals are evalua- tions about the personal relevance of the situation – whether it threatens goals, resources, or values. Secondary appraisals are be- liefs about potential resources available for meeting stressor de- mands. Given an impending stressor, primary and secondary appraisals interact, resulting in a continuum ranging from chal- lenge to threat. Challenge occurs when adequate resources are " id="pdf-obj-0-5" src="pdf-obj-0-5.jpg">

Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect

Personality and Individual Differences

journal homepag e: www.elsevier.c om/locate/paid

<a href=Personality and Individual Differences 55 (2013) 909–914 Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect Personality and Individual Differences journal homepag e: www.elsevier.c om/locate/paid Emotional intelligence and resilience Tamera R. Schneider , Joseph B. Lyons , Steven Khazon Wright State University, 3640 Col. Glenn Hwy., Dayton, OH 45435, United States Air Force Research Laboratory, 875 N. Randolph St., Arlington, VA, United States article info Article history: Received 30 January 2013 Received in revised form 10 July 2013 Accepted 15 July 2013 Available online 6 August 2013 Keywords: Emotional intelligence Appraisal Affect Physiology Positive psychology abstract This study examined the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and the stress process. Partic- ipants ( N = 126) completed an ability-based measure of EI and then engaged with two stressors. We assessed stressor appraisals, emotions, and physiological stress responses over time. We expected that higher EI would facilitate stress responses in the direction of challenge, rather than threat. As expected, EI facets were related to lower threat appraisals, more modest declines in positive affect, less negative affect and challenge physiological responses to stress. However, findings differed for men and women. This study provides predictive validity that EI facilitates stress resilience. 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. 1. Emotional intelligence and resilience Emotional intelligence (EI), one’s ability to perceive, integrate, understand, and manage emotions, has received a great deal of attention ( Zeidner, Roberts, & Matthews, 2004 ). Popular literature promises benefits of EI ( Goleman, 1995 ), but these have not been established ( Landy, 2005; Zeidner et al., 2004 ). Debates over con- ceptualization and measurement have delayed research ( Davies, Stankov, & Roberts, 1998; Matthews, Zeidner, & Roberts, 2007 ). Mixed (trait) models describe EI as skills, personality, and well- being ( Bar-On, 1997; Goleman, 1995 ), whereas ability-based mod- els describe EI as an intelligence comprising emotional abilities ( Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 1999, 2000 ). To be labeled intelligence a construct must be defined as a set of abilities, related to other measures of cognitive ability, and develop with age ( Carroll, 1993 ). Trait-based conceptualizations do not meet these criteria (e.g., Roberts, MacCann, Matthews, & Zeidner, 2010; Schulze, Wil- helm, & Kyllonen, 2007 ), but ability-based conceptualizations do ( Austin, 2010; Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 1999 ). The MSCEIT is the most validated ability measure ( Matthews et al., 2007; Roberts et al., 2010 ), and its four-factor framework stems from theory (e.g., MacCann & Roberts, 2008 ). We examined the influence of ability- based EI on stress responses – appraisals, emotions, and physiology as the stress process unfolds over time. ⇑ Corresponding author. Address: Wright State University, Department of Psychology, 335 Fawcett, Dayton, OH 45435, United States. Tel.: +1 (937) 775 2391; fax: +1 (937) 775 3347. E-mail address: tamera.schneider@wright.edu (T.R. Schneider). 0191-8869/$ - see front matter 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.07.460 Emotional intelligence comprises a set of four emotional skills including accurately perceiving emotions, integrating emotions with cognition, understanding emotional causes and conse- quences, and managing emotions for personal adjustment ( Mayer & Salovey, 1997; Salovey, Bedell, Detweiler, & Mayer, 1999; Salo- vey, Kokkonen, Lopes, & Mayer, 2004 ). These skills build hierarchi- cally, from the ability to perceive emotions up to managing emotions. Perceiving emotions includes the ability to accurately identify and express emotions, which helps to discriminate be- tween hospitable and hostile situations. The ability to generate and use emotions to enhance thinking includes altering emotion to redirect cognitive processes, obtain new perspectives, and en- hance problem-solving or creativity. Emotional understanding in- cludes the ability to understand emotional information, the manner in which they combine, and their causes and conse- quences. Emotional management includes the ability to be open to feelings and modulate them to facilitate growth, even during duress. People experiencing specific and intense emotional changes should benefit from EI ( Barrett, Gross, Christensen, & Ben- venuto, 2001 ), however research on EI and stress outcomes is lacking. The stress process begins with evaluations, or appraisals, denot- ing our interpretation of an impending stressful situation ( Lazarus, 1999; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984 ). Primary appraisals are evalua- tions about the personal relevance of the situation – whether it threatens goals, resources, or values. Secondary appraisals are be- liefs about potential resources available for meeting stressor de- mands. Given an impending stressor, primary and secondary appraisals interact, resulting in a continuum ranging from chal- lenge to threat. Challenge occurs when adequate resources are " id="pdf-obj-0-16" src="pdf-obj-0-16.jpg">

Emotional intelligence and resilience

Tamera R. Schneider a , , Joseph B. Lyons b , Steven Khazon a

a Wright State University, 3640 Col. Glenn Hwy., Dayton, OH 45435, United States b Air Force Research Laboratory, 875 N. Randolph St., Arlington, VA, United States

article info

Article history:

Received 30 January 2013 Received in revised form 10 July 2013 Accepted 15 July 2013 Available online 6 August 2013

Keywords:

Emotional intelligence

Appraisal

Affect

Physiology

Positive psychology

abstract

This study examined the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and the stress process. Partic- ipants (N = 126) completed an ability-based measure of EI and then engaged with two stressors. We assessed stressor appraisals, emotions, and physiological stress responses over time. We expected that higher EI would facilitate stress responses in the direction of challenge, rather than threat. As expected, EI facets were related to lower threat appraisals, more modest declines in positive affect, less negative

affect and challenge physiological responses to stress. However, findings differed for men and women. This study provides predictive validity that EI facilitates stress resilience. 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Emotional intelligence and resilience

Emotional intelligence (EI), one’s ability to perceive, integrate, understand, and manage emotions, has received a great deal of attention (Zeidner, Roberts, & Matthews, 2004). Popular literature promises benefits of EI (Goleman, 1995), but these have not been established (Landy, 2005; Zeidner et al., 2004). Debates over con- ceptualization and measurement have delayed research (Davies, Stankov, & Roberts, 1998; Matthews, Zeidner, & Roberts, 2007). Mixed (trait) models describe EI as skills, personality, and well- being (Bar-On, 1997; Goleman, 1995), whereas ability-based mod- els describe EI as an intelligence comprising emotional abilities (Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 1999, 2000). To be labeled intelligence a construct must be defined as a set of abilities, related to other measures of cognitive ability, and develop with age (Carroll, 1993). Trait-based conceptualizations do not meet these criteria (e.g., Roberts, MacCann, Matthews, & Zeidner, 2010; Schulze, Wil- helm, & Kyllonen, 2007), but ability-based conceptualizations do (Austin, 2010; Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 1999). The MSCEIT is the most validated ability measure (Matthews et al., 2007; Roberts et al., 2010), and its four-factor framework stems from theory (e.g., MacCann & Roberts, 2008). We examined the influence of ability- based EI on stress responses – appraisals, emotions, and physiology as the stress process unfolds over time.

Corresponding author. Address: Wright State University, Department of Psychology, 335 Fawcett, Dayton, OH 45435, United States. Tel.: +1 (937) 775 2391; fax: +1 (937) 775 3347. E-mail address: tamera.schneider@wright.edu (T.R. Schneider).

0191-8869/$ - see front matter 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Emotional intelligence comprises a set of four emotional skills including accurately perceiving emotions, integrating emotions with cognition, understanding emotional causes and conse-

quences, and managing emotions for personal adjustment (Mayer & Salovey, 1997; Salovey, Bedell, Detweiler, & Mayer, 1999; Salo-

vey, Kokkonen, Lopes, & Mayer, 2004). These skills build hierarchi- cally, from the ability to perceive emotions up to managing emotions. Perceiving emotions includes the ability to accurately identify and express emotions, which helps to discriminate be- tween hospitable and hostile situations. The ability to generate and use emotions to enhance thinking includes altering emotion to redirect cognitive processes, obtain new perspectives, and en- hance problem-solving or creativity. Emotional understanding in- cludes the ability to understand emotional information, the manner in which they combine, and their causes and conse- quences. Emotional management includes the ability to be open to feelings and modulate them to facilitate growth, even during duress. People experiencing specific and intense emotional changes should benefit from EI (Barrett, Gross, Christensen, & Ben- venuto, 2001), however research on EI and stress outcomes is lacking. The stress process begins with evaluations, or appraisals, denot- ing our interpretation of an impending stressful situation (Lazarus, 1999; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Primary appraisals are evalua- tions about the personal relevance of the situation – whether it threatens goals, resources, or values. Secondary appraisals are be- liefs about potential resources available for meeting stressor de- mands. Given an impending stressor, primary and secondary appraisals interact, resulting in a continuum ranging from chal- lenge to threat. Challenge occurs when adequate resources are

  • 910 T.R. Schneider et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 55 (2013) 909–914

deemed to meet situational demands, whereas threat results when situational demands outweigh resources (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Challenge and threat appraisals are differently related to physiological responses, performance (Schneider, 2004; Tomaka, Blascovich, Kelsey, & Leitten, 1993), and emotions (Schneider, 2004, 2008). Physiologically, both threatened and challenged groups are mobilized with increased heart rate (HR) and some in- crease in cardiac output (CO; the amount of blood pumped out of the heart over time), however the pattern of blood flow differs (Schneider, 2004, 2008). Challenge appraisals evoke increases in cardiac reactivity (increased HR and CO) coupled with peripheral vasodilation (vasculature is more accepting of blood flow) (Schnei- der, 2004, 2008; Tomaka et al., 1993). Threatened participants have a smaller increase in cardiac reactivity coupled with enhanced vasoconstriction (vasculature is less accepting of blood flow). Chal- lenged participants outperform threatened participants on moti- vated performance, active coping tasks (Schneider, 2004; Tomaka et al., 1993), and on complex skills training and transfer (Gildea, Schneider, & Shebilske, 2007). Challenged participants also experi- ence more positive affect and less negative affect than threatened participants (Schneider, 2004, 2008). Most psychophysiological stress research focuses on a single stressor, but we investigated the role of ability-based EI on stress responses over time. People appraise situations differently, with some more vulnera- ble to negative stress outcomes (Basic Behavioral Science Task Force of the National Advisory Mental Health Council Basic Behav- ioral Science Task Force of the National Advisory Mental Health Council Basic Behavioral Science Task Force of the National Advi- sory Mental Health Council Basic Behavioral Science Task Force of the National Advisory Mental Health Council Basic Behavioral Science Task Force of the National Advisory Mental Health Council BBSTFNAMHC, 1996; Blascovich & Tomaka, 1996; Schneider, 2004; Vollrath & Torgersen, 2000). Appraisals should be influenced by dispositions (Lazarus, 1999; Lyons & Schneider, 2005; Schneider 2004). Past research has found that high assertiveness predicts challenge appraisals of a speech stressor (Tomaka et al., 1993), and higher just world beliefs (beliefs that the world is just and fair) predict challenge appraisals of a math stressor (Tomaka & Blasco- vich, 1994). Although EI has clear implications for emotional re- sponses, it has yet to be examined with these robust stress outcomes. Emotions play a fundamental role in shaping our reac- tions to external stimuli and help to focus our attention, aid in interpreting harms or benefits, and motivate us to respond to anticipated or actual events that are personally relevant (Salovey et al., 2004; Zajonc, 1998). Emotional intelligence should confer benefits during duress (Brackett, Palomera, Mojsa-Kaja, Reyes, & Salovey, 2010; Ciarrochi, Deane, & Anderson, 2002; Matthews & Zeidner, 2000; Nikolaou & Tsaousis, 2002; Ramos, Fernandez-Berrocal, & Extremera, 2007; Salovey et al., 1999; Stroud, Salovey, Woolery, & Epel, 2002). Most EI-stress research has focused on self-reported, trait EI. It has been linked to actively coping with stressors (Stroud et al., 2002), lower subjective work stress (Nikolaou & Tsaousis, 2002), and a beneficial moderator of the link between stress and health (EP and EM; Ciar- rochi et al., 2002). These studies suggest that EI may foster resil- ience, although self-reported EI lacks validity (Davies et al., 1998; Schulze et al., 2007). Examining ability EI, Brackett et al. (2010) found that emotional regulation predicts burnout and job satisfac- tion in secondary school teachers. Research examining ability EI and stress responses is lacking (Salovey et al., 2004). Furthermore, females outperform males on ability EI measures (Day & Carroll, 2004; Kafetsios, 2004; Lyons & Schneider, 2005). Little is known about the influence of ability EI on stress responses, and for men and women separately. We examined the role of ability EI on psychophysiological stress responses. We posited that EI should promote resilient and

adaptive functioning during stressful situations for men and wo- men. Given the paucity of research we did not offer predictions for specific facets or different genders. Instead, we expected that men and women who score higher in EI would appraise an impending stressor as a challenge, experience more positive and less negative affect, and exhibit challenge physiology (greater car- diac reactivity coupled with vasodilation), compared to those low- er in EI who were expected to appraise the stressors with greater threat, less positive and more negative affect, and threat physiol- ogy (modest increase in cardiac reactivity coupled with vasocon- striction). This hypothesis was examined by branch, for men and women separately because of gender differences in EI (Day & Car- roll, 2004; Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2000) and the primary goal of this research was to investigate EI and stress resilience, not control for EI to examine gender differences in stress responses.

2. Method

  • 2.1. Participants

Undergraduate psychology students (N = 126) attending a mid- western university participated in exchange for course credit. The average age was 20 (SD = 4.6). Most were female (60%), freshman (67%), and Caucasian (70%).

  • 2.2. Stress manipulations

We used two motivated performances, active coping stressors, where people actively construct responses rather than sit passively and endure some stimulus (e.g., cold pressor, slide viewing). Both commonly used tasks are validated psychophysiological stressors (Kelsey et al., 2000, 1999; Saab, Matthews, Stoney, & McDonald, 1989). The rationale for the use of two stressors was to counteract psychophysiological habituation responses (Kelsey et al., 1999).

  • 2.2.1. Mental arithmetic task

For three minutes participants were to count backward from a four-digit number by sevens, aloud, as quickly and accurately as possible. They were told their responses would be evaluated.

  • 2.2.2. Speech task

In the role of middle manager, participants delivered a video- taped speech (1 min preparation, 2 min delivery) in which they de- fended themselves against an employee’s sexual harassment accusation.

  • 2.3. Materials

    • 2.3.1. Emotional intelligence

The MSCEIT V2.0 is a 141-item, ability-based measure with four subscales (Mayer et al., 2000). Emotional perception has partici- pants identify emotions in faces and pictures. Facilitating cognition has participants compare emotions to sensations and discern the usefulness of emotions in different situations. Emotional under- standing has participants reduce numerous emotions down to one and identify the result of conflicting emotions. Emotional man- agement has participants discern the emotions of different charac- ters in stories. Test manual a ’s are .91, .90, .77, and .87, respectively. The publisher provided branch scores.

  • 2.3.2. Stress appraisals

Two-items assessed appraisals: ‘‘How threatening do you ex- pect the upcoming task to be (primary)?’’ and ‘‘How able are you to handle the burden of the task (secondary)?’’ These were

T.R. Schneider et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 55 (2013) 909–914

911

combined in a ratio (primary/secondary) where higher scores de- note threat (Schneider, 2004).

2.3.3. Positive and negative affect

The PANAS assessed positive and negative affect (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988). Participants rated their experience of emotions, at that moment, at baseline and after both tasks. Ten items as- sessed positive affect (e.g., attentive, excited, inspired; as = .83, .87, and .91, respectively), and ten assessed negative affect (e.g.,

distressed, hostile, afraid; a’s = .83, .79, and .84, respectively).

2.3.4. Physiological measures

An impedance cardiograph and continuous blood pressure monitor provided data to derive cardiac output and total periphe- ral resistance. Data collection was in accordance with published standards (Sherwood et al., 1990). Data were reduced offline with interactive software. Baseline equivalence of groups was

established.

2.4. Procedure

After obtaining consent, participants completed the MSCEIT on- line. They were seated in a sound-dampened chamber and physio- logical sensors were attached, followed by a 10-min physiological baseline. A baseline PANAS was completed. Random assignment to task was followed by task instruction. After instruction, apprais- als were assessed, the task commenced, and state affect was assessed. A 2-min recovery separated tasks. Then, task 2 instruc- tions were given, and the sequence repeated. Sensors were detached and participants debriefed.

3. Results

This study examined stress reactions (appraisals, affect, physi- ology) over time. Repeated measures ANOVAs were used to test the hypotheses pertaining to appraisals and affect. Physiological data were analyzed using a MANOVA. The task order was counter- balanced (math first or speech first) and this served as an indepen- dent variable in preliminary analysis. With the exception of descriptive analyses using gender as an IV (see Table 1), analyses examining the influence of EI on stress responses were conducted for men and women separately (using two gender datasets). Lastly, to maximize power, EI branches were examined as covariates

Table 2

Means (SD) for mens’ appraisals and affect over time, by EI branch (measured at

baseline).

 

Baseline

Time 1

Time 2

Appraisals

Low emotional management

.74 (.50)

.94 (.83)

High emotional management

.72 (.42)

.65 (.34)

Positive affect

Low emotional understanding

2.50 (.69)

2.20 (.65)

1.96 (.75)

High emotional understanding

3.00 (.68)

2.86 (.80)

2.63 (.88)

Negative affect

Low emotional perception

1.77 (.63)

1.96 (.75)

2.02 (.76)

High emotional perception

1.29 (.34)

1.51 (.44)

1.45 (.40)

rather than dichotomized (MacCallum, Zhang, Preacher, & Rucker, 2002). In summary, repeated-measures ANCOVAs or the MANCO- VA were conducted with emotional perception (EP), facilitating cognition (FC), emotional understanding (EU), and emotional man- agement (EM) as covariates and stress reactions (appraisals, affec- tive responses, and physiology) over time as dependent variables, for men and for women separately. First, preliminary analyses investigated order effects, using re- peated-measures M/ANOVAs with order (math first or speech first) as the independent variable and stress responses as dependent variables, for each gender. As expected, responses to the stressors were equivalent, order had no effect on appraisals, emotions, or physiology for men or women, ns. Subsequent analyses are col- lapsed across order. Descriptive findings are in Table 1. Women scored higher on EI branches than men, significantly so for EM, as in past research (Lopes, Salovey, Cote, & Beers, 2005). Thus, we conducted analyses for men and women separately. Table 1 also shows that relative to men, women reported significantly more threat before and less positive affect after the first task, more neg- ative affect after both tasks, and had lower cardiac output at baseline. Four (EI branch) repeated-measures ANCOVAs were conducted with EI branch as the covariate and appraisals as the repeated DV (time 1 and 2), for men and women separately. For both data- sets (men, women), there were no main effects of time, or branch with time interactions, ns. EM had a significant covariate effect on appraisals, but only for men. Table 2 shows that men higher in EM were more challenged than those lower in EM, F(1, 49) = 4.78,

Table 1

Means (SD) for EI facets, appraisals, affect, and physiology, for men and women separately.

 

Overall mean

Females (n = 75)

Males (n = 51)

Emotional perception

98.45 (15.46)

100.23 (14.80)

95.83 (16.16)

Facilitating cognition

95.26 (15.00)

97.20 (14.42)

92.41 (15.52)

Emotional understanding

89.32 (8.71)

90.47 (8.85)

87.63 (8.30)

Emotional management

90.62 (10.37)

92.59 (10.04) a

87.73 (10.27) b

Appraisals: time 1

.94 (.58)

1.09 (.60) a

.73 (.48) b

Appraisals: time 2

1.01 (.83)

1.12 (.89)

.86 (.73)

Positive affect: baseline

2.57 (.71)

2.47 (.69)

2.71 (.72)

Positive affect: time 1

2.31 (.76)

2.19 (.72) a

2.47 (.78) b

Positive affect: time 2

2.12 (.87)

2.03 (.88)

2.24 (.86)

Negative affect: baseline

1.58 (.52)

1.58 (.49)

1.58 (.58)

Negative affect: time 1

1.95 (.69)

2.07 (.68) a

1.78 (.68) b

Negative affect: time 2

1.97 (.78)

2.10 (.80) a

1.80 (.72) b

Cardiac output: baseline

42.49 (11.74)

39.99 (8.96) a

46.11 (14.28) b

Cardiac output: time 1

47.47 (16.30)

45.27 (11.01)

52.06 (19.65)

Cardiac output: time 2

46.81 (16.71)

47.20 (11.69)

47.72 (20.68)

TPR: baseline

158.97 (54.54)

161.02 (48.42)

156.27 (62.45)

TPR: time 1

146.11 (87.82)

146.84 (70.50)

149.65 (106.78)

TPR: time 2

147.73 (86.28)

136.20 (56.31)

168.56 (112.46)

Note. Different superscripts denote significant differences, p < .05. TPR = Total Peripheral Resistance. Cardiac output and TPR means are from 77 participants (45 females, 32 males).

  • 912 T.R. Schneider et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 55 (2013) 909–914

 

60

50

   

CO (liters/min)

  • High EM

40

 
  • Low EM

a
a

30

 
 

20

 

Baseline

Time 1

Time 2

 

200

180

b
b
 

TPR (dyne-sec/cm^ 5 )

160

  • High EM

  • Low EM

140

 

120

 

100

 

Baseline

Time 1

Time 2

Fig. 1. Mean cardiac output (a) and Total Peripheral Resistance (b) over time for females high or low in emotional management.

p < .05. No EI branches were significantly related to appraisals for women. Four repeated-measures ANCOVAs were conducted with branch as the covariate, and affective responses as the DV over time (base- line, time 1, time 2), for men and women datasets. Positive and negative affect are separate dependent variables because they are orthogonal (Watson et al., 1988). For each DV and dataset, there were no main effects of time, or branch with time interactions, ns. Table 2 shows that relative to their low EI counterparts, men higher in EU reported more positive affect, F(1, 49) = 5.51, p < .05, and men higher in EP reported less negative affect, F(1, 49) = 5.31, p < .05. Four repeated-measures MANCOVAs were conducted with EI covaried, and CO and TRP as the DV over time (baseline, time 1, time 2), for each dataset. CO and TPR are interdependent physio- logical responses dictating MANOVA. For each dataset there were no effects of time, or branch with time interactions, ns. For women there was a significant multivariate main effect for EM, Wilk’s F(2, 38) = 9.02, p < .001. Figure 1a and b shows that relative to those lower in EM, women higher in EM had challenge physiology: great- er CO, F(1, 39) = 12.99, p < .001, coupled with decreased TPR, F(1, 39) = 18.52, p < .001 1 .

1 Figure 1a displays inflated values for cardiac output. Cardiac output is derived from heart rate and stroke volume. Heart rate values were appropriate, but stroke volume values were inflated. Stroke volume is influenced by several factors, and largely by changes in the position of the person (e.g., supine versus seated). Because all participants were seated for the duration of the experiment, these inflated values are likely consistent across participants.

4. Discussion

We expected that the four EI abilities would facilitate resilient

stress responses including challenge appraisals, more positive

and less negative affect, and challenge physiology for men and wo-

men. We found that the influence of EI on stress responses is not

ubiquitous, but generally that EI conferred stress resilience. We

discuss each EI branch in turn. Emotional perception (EP) facilitated significantly lower nega-

tive affect for men across the course of stressor exposures. Using a cross-sectional design, EP has been related to self-reported depression, hopelessness, and suicidal ideation (Ciarrochi et al.,

2002), suggesting that EP enhances negative affectivity during stress. However, our research shows that men with EP ability have reduced negative affective stress responses over time. We demon- strated that negative affect remains low during stressful transac-

tions for those higher in EP. Perhaps the ability to recognize

emotional responses brought on by an external stressor evokes a

correction in reports of emotional experience that is sustained over

time.

The facilitating cognition (FC) facet was not related to stress re-

sponses in the present study. Negative emotions narrow attention

(Craske, 1999), but positive emotions evoke openness and creativ-

ity (Isen, Daubman, & Nowicki, 1987). The stressors in this study

were motivated performance tasks with an evaluative component that may have made them unrelated to FC. Performance metrics

(not obtained in this study) are differently related to stressor appraisals (Schneider, 2004, 2008; Tomaka et al., 1993), and may

have been related to FC – a query for future research. Emotional understanding (EU) facilitated resilience. Higher EU in men was associated with more positive affect across the stress- ors than lower EU. EU should allow for refined identification of and precise attributions about emotional experiences. Although we introduced salient causes for emotional change, the higher positive affect of men higher in EU was sustained over time. These men no- ticed and reported higher positive affect, and may have attributed affective changes to the transient stressors. Maintaining mood may be an active affect control process (Forgas & Ciarrochi, 2002). Whether EU confers a mood maintenance effect, or reduces the ef- fort to maintain affect is a question for future research. We expected that higher EI ability would evoke challenge appraisals. Men higher in EM reported challenge relative to their low EM counterparts. High EM men had benign stressor appraisals that remained, whereas low EM men were more threatened that was sustained. EM is the highest EI ability (Salovey et al., 1999) and should influence the integration of responses for situations involving social interactions (Lopes et al., 2005) and stress adapta- tion. Examining more than two stressors may have revealed signif- icant effects on appraisals over time. Appraisals set the stress process in motion (Schneider, 2004; Tomaka et al., 1993) and are most open to modification. Further investigation could point to ways in which high EM builds or low EM reduces resilience, sug- gested by the pattern of appraisals obtained in the present study. Despite women having higher EM ability than men, they did not benefit from reduced stressor or beneficial emotional reactions. Descriptive analyses (Table 1) revealed that after the first task exposure, women were more threatened than men, and reported lower positive affect initially and higher negative affect across both tasks, than men. Past research shows that threat appraisals predict lower positive and higher negative affect (Schneider, 2004). De- spite experiencing the stressor more intensely (in terms of apprais- als and affect), women higher in EM did experience greater physiological challenge. It may be that their higher EM ability facil- itated a more salubrious physiological response (greater CO cou- pled with decreased TRP), a physiological challenge response

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(Blascovich & Tomaka, 1996; Schneider, 2004, 2008; Tomaka et al., 1993). More differentiated and intense negative affectivity is re- lated to greater emotion regulation efforts (Barrett et al., 2001), which may have been supported by an active coping physiology in high EM women. In the present study, men appeared to have greater variability in vascular resistance which may have pre- cluded our establishing meaningful relationships. Although our descriptive analyses suggested that women were more negatively affected by the stressor than men, this did not re- sult in more associations of EI and stress responses for women. The women in this study were neither homogenous in EI levels, nor re- stricted in their range of stress responses. However, the type of stressors used in the present research may be part of the issue. So- cial stressors evoke greater reactivity among women compared to men (Stroud et al., 2002). Although women evidenced stress re- sponses to the tasks in the present research, perhaps more so- cially-oriented stressors, such as a speed-dating type task, would facilitate their ability to apply EI skills. Another possible limitation of this study is that we did not con- trol for the influence of cognitive ability. Researchers have found that intelligence is related to ability-based EI (e.g., Austin, 2010). People with high cognitive ability may be better able to cope with our stressors, thus our findings might be partly attributed to cogni- tive ability rather than EI. 2 This possibility is mitigated somewhat by the modest relationship between EI and cognitive ability, but should be explored in future research.

5.1. Implications

This is among the first studies to expand on past research by demonstrating ability-based EI facilitates stress resilience. We used an ability EI measure rather than self-report, which lacks validity (Davies et al., 1998), and we examined stress outcomes over time. Interestingly, we found no interactions of EI branches and time. The resilience effects of EI appear at stressor onset and remain over time – an area calling for future research. This study examined women and men, separately because ability (Day & Car- roll, 2004; Kafetsios, 2004) and self-report EI (Van Rooy, Alonso, & Viswesvaran, 2004) consistently find gender differences. Future re- search should consider how EI facets may be utilized differently by men and women in different stressor contexts, and on adapting to stress at work. This study demonstrated that aspects of EI confer benefits dur- ing the stress process by promoting resilient psychological and physiological responses. The results provide some validation of EI theory. The facets differently buffer stress responses by promoting approach-oriented stressor appraisals, emotional experiences, and physiological engagement. There has been popular speculation about the promise of EI, and this research demonstrates stress-re- lated benefits of ability EI for men and women. We are optimistic about the future of EI as the questions become more precise and the findings more valid.

References

2 We thank an anonymous reviewer for this comment.

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