How does emotional intelligence predict happiness, optimism, and pessimism in adolescence? Investigating the relationship from the bifactor model
MetadataShow full item record
Emotional intelligence (EI) plays a key role in the adjustment of adolescents during this transitional life period. The accumulated evidences suggest that EI is associated with happiness, considered the affective component of subjective well-being and optimism and pessimism, considered cognitive mechanisms to expect either a brighter or darker future. In spite of the relevance of the relationship between EI, happiness, optimism, and pessimism, the majority of the research falls behind findings with adult samples, accumulating little knowledge in the context of adolescence. Furthermore, the measurement of EI has been recently challenged by the introduction of the bifactor model into the study of EI. The goal of the current study was to explore the association of EI with happiness, optimism, and pessimism in adolescence by introducing the bifactor EI model. The participants were 493 Spanish high-school students ranging from 14 to 18 years old (52.7% females) who completed self-report questionnaires. The results demonstrated that the bifactor EI model with an e-factor (general EI factor) and three emotional dimensions (emotional attention, emotional clarity, and emotional regulation) also represented the best well-fitted structure in adolescence. Most remarkably, results suggested that general EI and emotional regulation predicted positively happiness and optimism, while emotional attention predicted positively pessimism and negatively happiness. These results highlight the importance of the measurement of EI in the study of associated outcomes that are considered relevant during the period of adolescence. Hence, the specific role of the EI dimensions are important when explaining the relationship of EI with happiness, optimism, and pessimism.