Developing emotional intelligence as a key psychological resource reservoir for sustained student success

Gorgens-Ekermans, Gina ; Delport, Marthinus ; Du Preez, Ronel (2015-07)

CITATION: Görgens-Ekermans, G., Delport, M., & Du Preez, R. 2015. Developing emotional intelligence as a key psychological resource reservoir for sustained student success. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology/SA Tydskrif vir Bedryfsielkunde, 41(1): 1-13, doi: 10.4102/sajip.v41i1.1251.

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Orientation: The dire educational situation in South Africa has urged researchers to investigate predictors of sustained student success. - Research purpose: To investigate to what extent an Emotional Intelligence (EI) intervention impacts the level of EI, and critical psychological resources (affect balance, cognitive thought- pattern strategies as a sub-component of self-leadership, perceived stress and academic self- efficacy) necessary for student success. - Motivation for the study: Non-cognitive personal resources (such as EI) may indirectly contribute to student success. - Research design, approach and method: A controlled experimental research design was conducted to test the effect of an EI developmental intervention on affect balance, academic self-efficacy, cognitive thought-pattern strategies, and perceived stress, using a sample of first-year students (n = 114). - Main findings: Limited support of the utility of the intervention to increase EI emerged; whilst stronger support emerged that academic self-efficacy was affected by the intervention. No direct empirical support for the impact of increased EI on the other measured psychological resources was obtained, although some trends in the data could be observed. - Practical/managerial implications: Investments in EI developmental interventions, as part of student-support initiatives, should be further investigated to sufficiently justify its potential to influence sustained student success. - Contribution/value-add: The results of this study lay a foundation that suggest EI could be malleable and influence academic self-efficacy. More research is necessary regarding supplementary teaching and learning initiatives focused on non-cognitive personal resources, which are complementary to the academic offering at tertiary institutions, with the expectation of increasing the student success rates.

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