Emotional Intelligence and Post-Secondary Education: What Have We Learned and What Have We Missed?

  • James D. A. ParkerEmail author
  • Robyn N. Taylor
  • Kateryna V. Keefer
  • Laura J. Summerfeldt
Part of the The Springer Series on Human Exceptionality book series (SSHE)


The transition from high school to a post-secondary setting is a stressful period for most individuals, and difficulties with social and emotional adjustment are strong predictors of student dropout and underachievement. In this context, emotional intelligence (EI) has been studied as a possible explanatory variable for a range of post-secondary adjustment and attainment outcomes. However, the empirical evidence from two decades of research is rather mixed. In this chapter, we summarize the current state of evidence on the links between EI and post-secondary outcomes, review several mediating pathways through which EI may impact these outcomes, and point out important methodological limitations that have confounded research in this area. Using examples from our own research program, we demonstrate that careful treatment of these methodological issues yields informative and promising results. We then discuss a number of practical applications of EI in post-secondary settings, from utilizing EI assessments to improve the delivery of student services to targeted EI interventions.


Emotional intelligence Ability EI Trait EI Academic achievement Retention Post-secondary education Student services GPA 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James D. A. Parker
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robyn N. Taylor
    • 1
  • Kateryna V. Keefer
    • 1
  • Laura J. Summerfeldt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTrent UniversityPeterboroughCanada

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