Advertisement

How Is Emotional Intelligence Linked to Life Satisfaction? The Mediating Role of Social Support, Positive Affect and Negative Affect

  • Feng KongEmail author
  • Xinyu Gong
  • Sonia Sajjad
  • Kairong Yang
  • Jingjing ZhaoEmail author
Research Paper
  • 111 Downloads

Abstract

This study investigated the role of social support and affective experience (i.e., positive affect and negative affect) in the relationship between emotional intelligence and life satisfaction. Participants included 748 Chinese adults with an age range of 16–60 years who completed the Wong Law Emotional Intelligence Scale, the multi-dimensional scale of perceived social support, the Positive Affect and Negative Affect Scale, and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Structural equation modeling demonstrated that social support, positive affect and negative affect independently mediated the effect of trait emotional intelligence on life satisfaction, consistent with the social network and affective meditation models. More importantly, the identified serial mediation model indicated that emotional intelligence could influence life satisfaction through the chain mediating effect of “social support–positive affect” and “social support–negative affect”. These findings contribute to a deeper understanding of the links between these factors and suggest that high emotional intelligence may promote well-being from the social support and affective perspectives.

Keywords

Emotional intelligence Social support Positive affect Negative affect Life satisfaction 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31800942; 31700945), the Young Talent fund of University Association for Science and Technology in Shaanxi, China (20180206).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

References

  1. Anderson, J. C., & Gerbing, D. W. (1988). Structural equation modeling in practice : A review and recommended two-step approach. Psychological Bulletin, 103(3), 411–423.Google Scholar
  2. Armstrong, A. R., Galligan, R. F., & Critchley, C. R. (2011). Emotional intelligence and psychological resilience to negative life events. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(3), 331–336.Google Scholar
  3. Austin, E. J., & Saklofske, D. H. (2014). Introduction to the special issue on emotional intelligence. Personality and Individual Differences, 65(65), 1–2.Google Scholar
  4. Brannan, D., Biswas-Diener, R., Mohr, C. D., Mortazavi, S., & Stein, N. (2013). Friends and family: A cross-cultural investigation of social support and subjective well-being among college students. Journal of Positive Psychology, 8(1), 65–75.Google Scholar
  5. Bravo, A. J., Pilatti, A., Pearson, M. R., Mezquita, L., Ibáñez, M. I., & Ortet, G. (2017). Depressive symptoms, ruminative thinking, drinking motives, and alcohol outcomes: A multiple mediation model among college students in three countries. Addictive Behaviors, 76, 319–327.Google Scholar
  6. Chen, Y., Yao, M., & Yan, W. (2014). Materialism and well-being among Chinese college students: The mediating role of basic psychological need satisfaction. Journal of Health Psychology, 19(10), 1232–1240.Google Scholar
  7. Cuesta-Zamora, C., González-Martí, I., & García-López, L. M. (2018). The role of trait emotional intelligence in body dissatisfaction and eating disorder symptoms in preadolescents and adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences, 126, 1–6.Google Scholar
  8. Di Fabio, A., & Kenny, M. E. (2016). Promoting well-being: The contribution of emotional intelligence. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1182.Google Scholar
  9. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49(1), 71–75.Google Scholar
  10. Diener, E., Oishi, S., & Lucas, R. E. (2002). Personality, culture, and subjective well-being: Emotional and cognitive evaluations of life. Annual Review of Psychology, 54(1), 403–425.Google Scholar
  11. Eid, M., & Larsen, R. J. (Eds.). (2008). The science of subjective well-being. New York City: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  12. Extremera, N., & Fernández-Berrocal, P. (2005). Perceived emotional intelligence and life satisfaction: Predictive and incremental validity using the Trait Meta-Mood Scale. Personality and Individual Differences, 39(5), 937–948.Google Scholar
  13. Fang, J., Wen, Z., Zhang, M., & Sun, P. (2014). The analyses of multiple mediation effects based on structural equation modeling. Journal of Psychological Science, 37(3), 735–741.Google Scholar
  14. Fritz, M. S., Taylor, A. B., & Mackinnon, D. P. (2012). Explanation of two anomalous results in statistical mediation analysis. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 47(1), 61–87.Google Scholar
  15. Garcia, D., & Moradi, S. (2013). The affective temperaments and well-being: Swedish and Iranian adolescents’ life satisfaction and psychological well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(2), 689–707.Google Scholar
  16. Gohm, C. L., Corser, G. C., & Dalsky, D. J. (2005). Emotional intelligence under stress: Useful, unnecessary, or irrelevant? Personality and Individual Differences, 39(6), 1017–1028.Google Scholar
  17. Green, M., DeCourville, N., & Sadava, S. (2012). Positive affect, negative affect, stress, and social support as mediators of the forgiveness-health relationship. The Journal of social Psychology, 152(3), 288–307.Google Scholar
  18. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6(1), 1–55.Google Scholar
  19. Kim, H. S., Sherman, D. K., Ko, D., & Taylor, S. E. (2006). Pursuit of comfort and pursuit of harmony: Culture, relationships, and social support seeking. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32(12), 1595–1607.Google Scholar
  20. Kjell, O. N. E., Daukantaitė, D., Hefferon, K., & Sikström, S. (2016). The harmony in life scale complements the satisfaction with life scale: Expanding the conceptualization of the cognitive component of subjective well-being. Social Indicators Research, 126(2), 893–919.Google Scholar
  21. Kong, F. (2017). The validity of the Wong and Law Emotional Intelligence Scale in a Chinese sample: Tests of measurement invariance and latent mean differences across gender and age. Personality and Individual Differences, 116, 29–31.Google Scholar
  22. Kong, F., Ding, K., & Zhao, J. (2015a). The relationships among gratitude, self-esteem, social support and life satisfaction among undergraduate students. Journal of Happiness Studies, 16(2), 477–489.Google Scholar
  23. Kong, F., Hu, S., Wang, X., Song, Y., & Liu, J. (2015b). Neural correlates of the happy life: The amplitude of spontaneous low-frequency fluctuations predicts subjective well-being. Neuroimage, 107, 136–145.Google Scholar
  24. Kong, F., Ma, X., You, X., & Xiang, Y. (2018). The resilient brain: Psychological resilience mediates the effect of amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations in orbitofrontal cortex on subjective well-being in young healthy adults. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 13(7), 755–763.Google Scholar
  25. Kong, F., & You, X. (2013). Loneliness and self-esteem as mediators between social support and life satisfaction in late adolescence. Social Indicators Research, 110(1), 271–279.Google Scholar
  26. Kong, F., & Zhao, J. (2013). Affective mediators of the relationship between trait emotional intelligence and life satisfaction in young adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 54(2), 197–201.Google Scholar
  27. Kong, F., Zhao, J., & You, X. (2012a). Social support mediates the impact of emotional intelligence on mental distress and life satisfaction in Chinese young adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(4), 513–517.Google Scholar
  28. Kong, F., Zhao, J., & You, X. (2012b). Emotional intelligence and life satisfaction in Chinese university students: The mediating role of self-esteem and social support. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(8), 1039–1043.Google Scholar
  29. Koydemir, S., Şimşek, Ö. F., Schütz, A., & Tipandjan, A. (2013). Differences in how trait emotional intelligence predicts life satisfaction: The role of affect balance versus social support in India and Germany. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(1), 51–66.Google Scholar
  30. Kuppens, P., Realo, A., & Diener, E. (2008). The role of positive and negative emotions in life satisfaction judgment across nations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(1), 66–75.Google Scholar
  31. Li, R., Bunke, S., & Psouni, E. (2016). Attachment relationships and physical activity in adolescents: The mediation role of physical self-concept. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 22, 160–169.Google Scholar
  32. Liu, W., Li, Z., Ling, Y., & Cai, T. (2016). Core self-evaluations and coping styles as mediators between social support and well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 88, 35–39.Google Scholar
  33. Liu, Y., Wang, Z., & Lü, W. (2013). Resilience and affect balance as mediators between trait emotional intelligence and life satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 54(7), 850–855.Google Scholar
  34. Mackinnon, D. P., Lockwood, C. M., & Williams, J. (2004). Confidence limits for the indirect effect: Distribution of the product and resampling methods. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 39(1), 99–128.Google Scholar
  35. Martins, A., Ramalho, N., & Morin, E. (2010). A comprehensive meta-analysis of the relationship between emotional intelligence and health. Personality and Individual Differences, 49(6), 554–564.Google Scholar
  36. Mayer, J., & Salovey, P. (1997). What is emotional intelligence? In D. Sluyter & P. Salovey (Eds.), Emotional development and emotional intelligence. Educational implications (pp. 3–31). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  37. Ng, K.-M., Wang, C., Zalaquett, C. P., & Bodenhorn, N. (2007). A confirmatory factor analysis of the Wong and Law Emotional Intelligence Scale in a sample of international college students. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 29, 173–185.Google Scholar
  38. Park, H., Paul Heppner, P., & Lee, D. (2010). Maladaptive coping and self-esteem as mediators between perfectionism and psychological distress. Personality and Individual Differences, 48(4), 469–474.Google Scholar
  39. Perera, H. N., & DiGiacomo, M. (2015). The role of trait emotional intelligence in academic performance during the university transition: An integrative model of mediation via social support, coping, and adjustment. Personality and Individual Differences, 83, 208–213.Google Scholar
  40. Pérez, J. C., Petrides, K. V., & Furnham, A. (2005). Measuring trait emotional intelligence. In R. Schulze & R. D. Roberts (Eds.), International handbook of emotional intelligence (pp. 181–201). Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe & Huber.Google Scholar
  41. Petrides, K. V., Pérez-González, J. C., & Furnham, A. (2007). On the criterion and incremental validity of trait emotional intelligence. Cognition and Emotion, 21(1), 26–55.Google Scholar
  42. Ruiz-Aranda, D., Extremera, N., & Pineda-Galán, C. (2014). Emotional intelligence, life satisfaction and subjective happiness in female student health professionals: The mediating effect of perceived stress. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 21(2), 106–113.Google Scholar
  43. Salovey, P., Bedell, B. T., Detweiler, J. B., & Mayer, J. D. (2000a). Current directions in emotional intelligence research. In M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (2nd ed., pp. 504–520). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  44. Salovey, P., Rothman, A. J., Detweiler, J. B., & Steward, W. T. (2000b). Emotional states and physical health. American Psychologist, 55(1), 110–121.Google Scholar
  45. Sánchezálvarez, N., Extremera, N., & Fernándezberrocal, P. (2016). The relation between emotional intelligence and subjective well-being: A meta-analytic investigation. Journal of Positive Psychology, 11(3), 276–285.Google Scholar
  46. Schimmack, U., Oishi, S., Furr, R. M., & Funder, D. C. (2004). Personality and life satisfaction: A facet-level analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30(8), 1062–1075.Google Scholar
  47. Schröder-Abe, M., & Schütz, A. (2011). Walking in each other’s shoes: Perspective taking mediates effects of emotional intelligence on relationship quality. European Journal of Personality, 25(2), 155–169.Google Scholar
  48. Schutte, N. S., & Malouff, J. M. (2011). Emotional intelligence mediates the relationship between mindfulness and subjective well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 50(7), 1116–1119.Google Scholar
  49. Sun, P., Wang, S., & Kong, F. (2014). Core self-evaluations as mediator and moderator of the relationship between emotional intelligence and life satisfaction. Social Indicators Research, 118, 173–180.Google Scholar
  50. Taylor, S. E., Welch, W. T., Kim, H. S., & Sherman, D. K. (2010). Cultural differences in the impact of social support on psychological and biological stress responses. Psychological Science, 18(9), 831–837.Google Scholar
  51. Urquijo, I., Extremera, N., & Villa, A. (2016). Emotional intelligence, life satisfaction, and psychological well-being in graduates: The mediating effect of perceived stress. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 11(4), 1241–1252.Google Scholar
  52. Wong, C. S., & Law, K. S. (2002). The effects of leader and follower emotional intelligence on performance and attitude: An exploratory study. Leadership Quarterly, 13(3), 243–274.Google Scholar
  53. Yin, H., Lee, J. C. K., & Zhang, Z. (2013). Exploring the relationship among teachers’ emotional intelligence, emotional labor strategies and teaching satisfaction. Teaching and Teacher Education, 35, 137–145.Google Scholar
  54. Zeidner, M., Matthews, G., & Roberts, R. D. (2012). The emotional intelligence, health, and well-being nexus: What have we learned and what have we missed? Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 4(1), 1–30.Google Scholar
  55. Zeidner, M., Matthews, G., & Shemesh, D. O. (2016). Cognitive-social sources of wellbeing: Differentiating the roles of coping style, social support and emotional intelligence. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17, 2481–2501.Google Scholar
  56. Zhao, J., Song, F., Chen, Q., Li, M., Wang, Y., & Kong, F. (2018). Linking shyness to loneliness in Chinese adolescents: The mediating role of core self-evaluation and social support. Personality and Individual Differences, 125, 140–144.Google Scholar
  57. Zhao, J., Wang, Y., & Kong, F. (2014). Exploring the mediation effect of social support and self-esteem on the relationship between humor style and life satisfaction in Chinese college students. Personality and Individual Differences, 64, 126–130.Google Scholar
  58. Zhu, H. (2015). Social support and affect balance mediate the association between forgiveness and life satisfaction. Social Indicators Research, 124(2), 671–681.Google Scholar
  59. Zimet, G. D., Dahlem, N. W., Zimet, S. G., & Farley, G. K. (1988). The multidimensional scale of perceived social support. Journal of Personality Assessment, 52, 30–41.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyShaanxi Normal UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Faculty of PsychologySouthwest UniversityChongqingChina

Personalised recommendations