Emotional Intelligence, Depression and Psychological Adjustment among University Students in the Sultanate of Oman

By Sulaiman, Suad M. A. | International Journal of Psychological Studies, September 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Emotional Intelligence, Depression and Psychological Adjustment among University Students in the Sultanate of Oman


Sulaiman, Suad M. A., International Journal of Psychological Studies


Abstract

The study aimed to investigate the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI), depression and psychological adjustment in relation to gender among Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) students. The study sample consisted of 323 students all of whom have completed answering the EI inventory, Beck's list for depression and the psychological adjustment interment. In addition, T-test were conducted to detect the differences between males and females regarding emotional intelligence means (high, low) upon the means of depression and adjustment. The research showed a high level of EI among SQU students; a higher EI average for female students compared to males; a negative correlation between EI and depressive symptoms and a positive correlation between EI and psychological adjustment.

Keywords: Emotional Intelligence (EI), depression, psychological adjustment, gender, university students

1. Introduction and Literature Review

The importance of feelings and emotions and their impact on people's lives is a new trend that has recently been in the forefront of people's lives as they try to deal with their environments (Salovey, 2001). As a result, new research has experienced a shift in focus from behaviors, ideas and cognitive processes to emotions (Heesacker & Bradley, 1997). Consequently, emotional disorders have become the key element and the basis of psychological health (Kring & Bachorowski, 1999). The focus of modern theories is on emotions and self-regulation, and they also refer to the tensions and psychological stress which people go through in their daily life. Emotions raise some issues and threats that may affect the health of people. These threats may affect people's physical, psychological or social welfare (Edwars, 1998).

The concept of EI emerged in the field of psychology at the end of 1930 when Thorndike wrote about social intelligence and defined it as "the ability to understand and manage social relations and the ability to behave wisely with others" (Gardner, 2000). Since then, many psychologists have shed light on cognitive dimensions like memory and problem solving, while few have focused on emotions.

Emotions are considered a source of psychological adjustment and a protection from physical pain as well as being the facilitator and maintainer of self-identity in social events. They also direct a person to accomplish goals and succeed (Oaltey & Jenkins, 1998). EI has a great impact on psychological stress because of negative results and the failure the person might face as a result of this stress. Therefore, EI is a way people can control the emotions that cause stress and deal effectively with other peoples' emotions. Although, EI is not just about emotions; it is a combination of emotions, feelings, thoughts and behaviors (Vander Voort, 2006).

In the past, psychologists have tried to understand the strength of the relationship between some psychological functions and EI. They found that the acquisition of EI has a positive impact on being successful in life (Parker, Summerfelds, Hogan & Majeski, 2004; Vakola, Tsaousis & Nikalaou, 2004). Now, after discovering this relationship and its impact, there is a considerable increase in the interest of how we interact and the impact of psychological experiences on general health. It has become certain that there is a beneficial impact of positive emotions on raising the efficiency of the immunity system, in contrast, there is an unfavorable impact of negative emotions on psychological functions. (Herbert & Choen, 1993). Moreover, high attention to feelings, but low in emotional clarity and repair result in poorer psychological adjustment, higher levels of anxiety, depression, and social stress, and lower level of general mental health (Salguero; Palomera & Fernandez-Berrocal, 2012).

EI is defined as the ability to know and interpret emotions and to recognize their significance and relation to problems, including their causes and solutions (Mayer & Salovey, 1990). …

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