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Emotional Intelligence as Predictor of Mental, Social, and Physical Health in University Students

  • Natalio Extremera (a1) and Pablo Fernández-Berrocal (a1)


This study examined the association between emotional intelligence (EI), anxiety, depression, and mental, social, and physical health in university students. The sample was made up of 184 university students (38 men and 146 women). EI was evaluated by the Trait Meta-Mood Scale (Salovey, Mayer, Goldman, Turvey, & Palfai, 1995), which evaluates the three dimensions (Attention, Clarity, and Mood Repair). Anxiety was evaluated with the Trait Anxiety Questionnaire (Spielberger, Gorsuch, Lushene, Vagg, & Jacobs, 1983) and depression with the Beck Depression Inventory (Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979). Mental, social, and physical health were evaluated with the SF-12 Health Survey (Ware, Kosinski, & Keller, 1996). Results showed that high Emotional Attention was positively and significantly related to high anxiety, depression, and to low levels of Role Emotional, Social Functioning, and Mental Health. However, high levels of emotional Clarity and Mood Repair were related to low levels of anxiety and depression, high Role Physical, Social Functioning, Mental Health, Vitality, and General Health. This study confirmed the predictive value of Attention, Clarity and Mood Repair regarding the levels of anxiety, depression, and areas related to mental, social, and physical health in university students.

Este estudio analizó la relación entre la inteligencia emocional (IE) de los universitarios, sus niveles de sintomatología ansiosa y depresiva y el estado de salud físico, social y mental. La muestra estaba compuesta por 184 estudiantes universitarios (38 varones y 146 mujeres). La IE se evaluó con el cuestionario Trait Meta-Mood Scale (Salovey, Mayer, Goldman, Turvey, & Palfai, 1995) que evalúa tres dimensiones básicas relacionadas (Atención, Claridad y Reparación Emocional). La ansiedad se evaluó con la Escala de Ansiedad Rasgo (Spielberger, Gorsuch, Lushene, Vagg, & Jacobs, 1983), la depresión se evaluó con el Inventario de Depresión (Beck, Rush, Shaw, & Emery, 1979) mientras que el estado de salud social, mental y físico se evalúo con la SF-12 Health Survey (Ware, Kosinski, & Keller, 1996). En general, los resultados indicaron que una alta puntuación en Atención Emocional se relacionó significativa y positivamente con mayor sintomatología ansiosa y depresiva así como con puntuaciones más bajas en Rol emocional, Funcionamiento Social y Salud Mental. En cambio, mayores niveles de Claridad y Reparación Emocional se relacionaron con menores niveles de Ansiedad y Depresión, y mayor puntuación en Rol Físico, Funcionamiento Social, Salud Mental, Vitalidad y Percepción de Salud. Este estudio confirmó el carácter predictivo de la Atención, Claridad y Reparación Emocional sobre los niveles de ansiedad y depresión y sobre diferentes áreas relacionadas con la salud mental, social y física de los universitarios.


Corresponding author

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Natalio Extremera or Pablo Fernández-Berrocal, Universidad de Málaga, Facultad de Psicología, Campus de Teatinos, s/n, 29071. Málaga, Spain. E-mails: or


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