Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 8, pp 2290–2300 | Cite as

Trait Emotional Intelligence as Mediator Between Psychological Control and Behaviour Problems

  • Maria C. Gugliandolo
  • Sebastiano Costa
  • Francesca Cuzzocrea
  • Rosalba Larcan
Original Paper


The main aim of this study was to examine the relationship between psychological control and trait Emotional Intelligence (trait EI), while also testing the mediating role of trait EI in the relationship between psychological control and behaviour problems. A total of 260 adolescents, between 13 and 17 years old, participated in the study. Participants completed the Psychological Control Scale-Youth Self-Report to evaluate their perception of parental psychological control, the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire to measure adolescent’s self-evaluation of trait EI, and the Child Behavior CheckList to investigate adolescents’ self-evaluation of their behavioural and emotional problems. Results showed that adolescents’ perception of parental psychological control negatively predicted trait EI, and that trait EI negatively predicted internalising and externalising problems. Furthermore, structural equation modelling showed that trait EI was a full mediator in the relationship between perceptions of parental psychological control and internalising problems and a partial mediator between paternal psychological control and externalising problems. These results suggest independent additive effects. Identifying a mediating variable not only between psychological control and internalising problems, but also between psychological control and externalising, seems to be worthwhile for new research, as it emphasises the emotional mechanism behind the relationship between psychological and behavioural problems. Our findings represent a timely contribution to the literature in light of recent descriptions of how parental psychological control can affect internalising and externalising problems.


Trait emotional intelligence Psychological control Behaviour problems Adolescents Mediation 


Authors’ contribution

Maria C. Gugliandolo assisted with generation of the initial draft of the manuscript, data analyses, study design and concept and manuscript editing; Sebastiano Costa assisted with manuscript editing, interpretation of data, study design and concept; Francesca Cuzzocrea assisted with data analysis, data interpretation, and manuscript editing; Rosalba Larcan assisted with data interpretation, manuscript editing, and study supervision.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria C. Gugliandolo
    • 1
  • Sebastiano Costa
    • 1
  • Francesca Cuzzocrea
    • 1
  • Rosalba Larcan
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Psychology, Department of Human and Social SciencesUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly

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