Advances in Applied Psychology, Vol. 1, No. 2, October 2015 Publish Date: Aug. 24, 2015 Pages: 135-144

Emotional Intelligence and Personality Stability Among Urban Adolescents in Nigeria

John N. N. Ugoani*

College of Management and Social Sciences, Rhema University, Aba, Abia State, Nigeria


The study was designed to explore the degree of relationship between emotional intelligence and personality stability among urban adolescents. Emotional intelligence is a psychological concept that deals with human emotions and intervenes for positive behaviours. Personality is an individual difference that lends consistency to a person’s behavior. The humanistic theory emphasizes individual growth and suggests that self-actualizers naturally have stronger emotional intelligence. People struggling to meet lower order needs and arguably even middle order needs tend to have lower emotional intelligence than self-actualizers Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs explain that all needs other than self-actualization are deficiency drivers, which suggests in other words some emotional intelligence development potential or weakness. The Big Five personality theory includes emotional stability which suggests a positive relationship with emotional intelligence. The survey design was used for the study. Prototype questionnaire based on the self-report emotional intelligence scale was used for data collection. The study found very strong positive relationship between emotional intelligence and personality stability.


Emotional Intelligence, Personality Stability, Adolescents, Emotions, Psychological

1. Introduction

Emotional intelligence (EI) represents an ability to validly reason with emotions and use emotions to enhance thought and human understanding. It describes an ability, capacity, or skill to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of one’s self, of others, and of groups. In our ever changing society, organizations, including the government are facing enormous challenges of how to manage and regulate the activities of urban adolescents along positive behaviours for the well-being of themselves and society at large. Many studies show that differences in human behavior are related to emotional intelligence and personality characteristics of individuals (Bar-On, 2004, Beer, &Nohria, 2000, Mayer, et al, 2002) Petrides, &Furnham (2000, 2003, 2000a) assert that emotional intelligence should be investigated within a personality framework. The conceptualization of emotional intelligence as a personality trait leads to a construct that lies outside the taxonomy of human cognitive ability. Feldman (2007) describes personality as the pattern of enduring characteristics that differentiates a person – the patterns of behavior that make each individual unique. He suggests that unconscious forces act as determinants of personality, a part of the personality of which a person is not aware and which is a potential determinant of behavior. Much of our personality is determined by our unconscious. Some of the unconscious is made up of the preconscious, which contains materials that is not threatening and is easily brought to mind, such as the knowledge that 5 + 5 is 10. But deeper in the unconscious are instinctual drives, the wishes, desires, demands and needs that are hidden from conscious awareness because of the conflicts and pain they would cause if they were part of daily events. The unconscious provides a safe haven for human recollections of threatening events. Three basic characteristics such as cardinal, central and secondary have been identified as critical to personality and behavior. A cardinal characteristics or trait is a single characteristic that directs most of a person’s activities. For examples, a completely selfless man might direct all his energy toward humanitarian activities, an intensely power-hungry politician might be driven by an all-consuming need for total control of his environment. Most people however do not develop or exhibit a single comprehensive cardinal characteristic. Instead, they possess a handful of central characteristics that make up the core of personality.Central characteristics such as honesty and sociability are the major characteristics of an individual.Most people have five to ten central characteristics. The secondary traits are characteristics that affect on individual’s behavior in fewer situations and are less influential than central or cardinal traits. For example, a reluctance to eat meal or a lower need for modern art would be considered as secondary traits. (Feldman, 2007). Recent studies have shown that emotional intelligence, a dispositional variable, is interlinked with personality characteristics such as extraversion, neuroticism and psychoticism to produce positive behaviours in society (Eysenck, 1990). Salovey and Mayer (1990) who first used the term "emotional intelligence" in academic literature sought to define the concept within the confines of the standard criteria for a new intelligence. After further research they state that EI involves the ability to perceive emotions, integrate emotions to facilitate thought, understand emotions, and to regulate emotions to promote personal growth. They view emotions as useful sources of information that help a person to make sense of and navigate the social environment. Their ability model of EI proposes that individuals vary in their ability to process information of an emotional nature and in their ability to relate emotional processing to a wider cognition. This ability is seen to manifest itself in certain adaptive behaviours. Salovey and Mayer’s (1990) conception of EI is based within the context of intelligence theory. Their pure theory of EI integrates key ideas from the fields of intelligence and emotion. From intelligence theory comes the idea that intelligence involves the ability to carry out abstract reasoning. They propose that EI comprises of the ability to perceive, respond, manipulate understand, and manage emotional information without experiencing them. Bar-On (1997) put forth a model based within the context of personality theory, emphasizing the co-dependence of the ability aspects of EI with personality traitsand their application to personal well-being. Also, Goleman (2001) put forth a mixed model of EI in terms of performance, integrating an individual’s ability and personality and applying their corresponding effects on performance in the workplace. There is empirical evidence that each individual falls within each of the three dimensions of personality. For example, neuroticism contrasts elements of emotional stability with those of negative emotionality. Extraversion implies an energetic approach to the world as apposed to a passive approach. People in this category are frequently full of energy and actively seek for attention from other people, while openness examines an individual’s openness to experiences versus their level of close mindedness. Atta, et al (2013) posit that individuals in this dimension are often more creative and also able to express and understand their emotions. Another personality trait that is related to EI is agreeableness which seeks to measure whether an individual has a prosocial orientation towards others or whether he or she acts with anger and antagonism. It is suggested that an agreeable person is concerned with the well-being and interest of others around him. People are very responsible at work and meticulous in decision-making because they are conscientious. Conscientiousness factor of EI involves impulse control, which facilitates tasks and other goal directed behaviors (Bar-On, 1997, Hergenhahn& Olson, 1999, Damasio, 1999, Davidson, et al, 2000, Davies, et al, 1998, Brown &Schutte, 2006, Geher, 2004, DiFabio&Blustein, 2010).

An adolescent is a youth within the age range of between 10 and 23 years. The Nigerian National Youth Policy defines a youth as any Nigerian aged 18 to 35. The African Youth Charter, which Nigeria ratified in 2009, defines youths as those aged 15 to 35. There are many contestations of various chronological definitions of the concept. Youth is not linear and the potentials of adulthood are sometimes crisscrossed by young people across the variously defined age spectra. However a youth or an adolescent is a person who is young especially the period before the individual becomes an adult. It is clear that adolescents or youths are endowed with raw energy, bubbling in the spirit, high hopes, big dreams, aspirations and ideas of what the future will bring. Paradoxically, in many parts of the world we see youths often engaged in the processes of revolution and counter-revolution, involved in drug pushing, and many unwarranted religious hatred. Youths are easily exploited by those who claim to be fighting for the benefit of the future generation. The behind the scene patrons of religious upheavals, the drug barons and the unpatriotic leaders either civilian or military as the case may be, use the traceable qualities of adolescents make them seen as the most dangerous or repulsive group, engaging in communal conflicts, hostage taking, cultism and other forms of sabotage, and currently the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. Most adolescents accept carelessly what they are taught from childhood and other social influences. And coming into maturity they accept that which they have constantly seen heard, read or taught. They continue to go along without questioning their peers. Most adolescents do not easily realize this, but frequently and carelessly assume what they believe without proof. Yet they will defend vigorously and emotionally their convictions. Among the problems of the urban adolescents in Nigeria are lacks of stable character traits, associated with moral laxity, greed, disrespect and violence, all which can be positively moderated through the dispositional influence of emotional intelligence that may eventually lead to positive personality stability. This is imperative because emotional intelligence helps individuals across the age spectrum to maintain a positive view of themselves and avoid destructive behaviours by changing their overall internal experiences (Salovey& Mayer, 1990, Nmom, 2014) the field of psychology continues to be broadened with empirical studies which show that there are major cultural dimensions in cognition, emotion, and motivation. For example, Triandis (2004) posits that psychologists have suddenly realized that what was considered as universal psychology is true only in the West, and not valid anywhere! And it is now accepted that culture is inside the person. He argues that a major turning point occurred when culture started to be conceived of as "inside" the person. According to this view, all psychological processes have a cultural component that may influence emotionality, behavior, and personality stability (Chatman &Barsade, 1995, Hofstede, 2001).

1.1. Statement of the Problem

Negative relationships and problem behaviors among adolescents in Nigeria are reflection of lack of emotional intelligence. The problems of Youth restiveness, violence, and the Boko Haram insurgency may be reduced through emotional intelligence and exhibition of personality characteristics such as cardinal, central and secondary traits. Several studies have found that emotional intelligence can have a significant impact on various elements of everyday living and behavior. Palmer et al (2002) found that higher emotional intelligence is a predictor of life satisfaction. Others reported that people higher in emotional intelligence are more likely to use an adaptive defense style and thus exhibit healthier psychological adaptation. It has also been found that higher levels of EI are associated with an increased likelihood of attending to health and appearance, positive interaction with friends and family and owning objects that are reminders of their loved ones (Brackett & Mayer, 2003) Mayer, et al (2000) found that higher emotional intelligence correlated significantly with higher parental warmth and attachment style, while others found that those scoring high in EI also show increased positive interpersonal relationships among children, adolescents and adults (Rubin, 1999). Lower emotional intelligence has been significantly associated with violent and trouble – prone behaviors among college students, higher use of illegal drugs and alcohol, as well as increased participation in deviant behaviors. According to Brackett and Mayer, (2003) a study of 15 male adolescent sex offenders (15 – 17 years old) found that sex offenders have difficulty in identifying their own and others feelings, two important elements of emotional intelligence (Petrides et al, 2010, Taksic and Mohovic, 2006, Soto, et al, 2011, Prochaska, et al, 1992, Trinidad, & Johnson, 2002, Prochaska, 1999).

Earlier researchers like Roberts, et al (2001) recognize that emotional intelligence enhances the ability to solve emotion-laden problems without necessarily suppressing negative emotions, and also the capacity to stay aware of even unpleasant emotions. Emotional intelligence helps individuals to redirect attention to important events, that is capable of avoiding unnecessary violence. Youths are often engaged in protests, molestations, and vandalism that hamper the peace process and development. Perpetrators of violence in Nigeria today under the canopy of Boko Haram are mostly urban adolescents. For example, on June 15, 2014, there was the discovery of bombs, suspected to have been planted by members of Boko Haram at a church in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. Also, on June 16, 2014, about 486 Boko Haram suspects were arrested in Abia State, Nigeria. Also, on July 2, 2014, police in Afikpo, Ebonyi State, arrested 17 Boko Haram suspects. In the last 12 months, thereis hardly any village that did not lose one person to Boko Haram attack in the Northern part of Nigeria (Effiong, 2015, Effiong&Efo, 2015). Solving emotion related problems and sustaining positive personality are foundationally tied to emotional intelligence and psychological wellbeing (Bar-On, 1997).

1.2. Objective of the Study

The study was designed to examine the relationship between emotional intelligence and personality stability among urban adolescents in Nigeria.

1.3. Delimitation of the Study

The study was delimited to Abia State. Abia State is one of the 36 states in Nigeria and it was assumed that the opinion of the people in Abia State will be a reflection of the views of the people in Nigeria.

1.4. Significance of the Study

Because of the negative behaviours associated with urban adolescents, the study will help students, parents, researchers, governments, and the public to reflect on the most practical ways of enhancing positive behaviours through emotional intelligence.

1.5. Limitations of the Study

The study was limited by lack of current literature in the areas of study as well as research grant. The study was delimited to Abia State due to time constraint and difficult in reaching out to other states. However these limitations did affect the academic potency of the study.

1.6. Hypotheses

To achieve the objective of the study two hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance.

Ho: There is no relationship between emotional intelligence and personality stability among urban adolescents in Nigeria.

Hi: There is a relationship between emotional intelligence and personality stability among urban adolescents in Nigeria.

2. Literature Review

Emotional intelligence is a relatively recent behavioural model, rising to prominence with Goleman’s (1995) Book on the concept. This work highly popularized the theory of emotional intelligence and ultimately brought it to its academic zenith. Emotional intelligence is increasingly relevant to organizational development and developing people, because the EI principles provide a new way to understand and assess people’s behaviours, management styles, attitudes, interpersonal skills, and potential. Emotional intelligence is an important consideration in human resource planning, job profiling, recruitment, interviewing and selection, management development, customer relations and customer service and more. Emotional intelligence links strongly with concepts of love and spirituality, bringing compassion and humanity to work, and also to multiple intelligence theory which illustrates and measures the range of capabilities people possess, and the fact that everybody has a value. The emotional intelligence concept argues that intelligence quotient (IQ), or conventional intelligence, is too narrow; and that there are wider areas of emotional intelligence that dictate and enable how successful individuals perform in different situations. Success in most cases requires more than IQ, which has tended to be the traditional measure of intelligence, ignoring essential behavioural and character elements that shape personality. An essential premise of EI is that to be successful requires the effective awareness, control and management of one’s own emotions, and those of other people. Emotional intelligence embraces two aspects of intelligence including understanding yourself, your goals, intentions, responses, behaviors and all. It equally involves understanding others, and their feelings. Goleman (1995) posits that emotional intelligence has five domains that are critical to personality development and stability such as knowing your emotions, managing your own emotions, motivating yourself, recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions, and managing relationships including managing the emotions of others. He emphasizes that emotional intelligence embraces and draws heavily from numerous other branches of behavioural, emotional and communications theories, such as Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Transactional Analysis and Empathy. According to Goleman (1995) by developing emotional intelligence in these areas and the five EI domains one can become more productive and successful at what he does, and help others to be more productive and successful too. He insists that the process and outcomes of emotional intelligence development also contain many elements known to reduce stress for individuals and organizations, by decreasing conflict, improving relationships and understanding, and increasing stability, continuity and harmony. In Goleman’s (1995) view, compassion and humanity are fundamental life forces, and emotional intelligence enables people to appreciate and develop these vital connections between self, others, purpose, meaning, existence, life and the world as a whole, and to help others do the same. He suggests that people with strong emotional intelligence have less emotional baggage and conversely people with low emotional intelligence tend to have personal unresolved issues which either act as triggers or are constraints in personality make-up (Taylor, et al, 1999, Petrides, et al, 2007, Ugoani&Ewuzie, 2013, Ackerman &Heggestad, 1997, Bar-On, 1992, 2002, Bar-On, et al, 2005, Bar-On & Parker, 2000).

2.1. Emotional Intelligence and Personality Trait Dimensions

Emotional intelligence has frequently been compared to personality trait dimensions (Petrides, et al, 2010) Personality, a person’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving, has been investigated through a variety of theories such as psychoanalytic, humanistic, social-cognitive, and trait theory. One of the most predominant and well accepted personality theories, trait theory, attempts to explain personality in terms of the dynamics that underlie behavior. Traits are characteristics patterns of behavior or dispositions to feel and behave in a particular way that distinguishes one persona from the next. They are hypothesized to be consistent and stable across a life time, acting as a template for an individual’s behavior (Myers, 1998, Cohen, 1999) previous studies supports this hypothesis. Also in an earlier longitudinal study of American adults, Costa and McCrae (1992) found that for the majority of people, personality at the age of 30 years was predictive of personality at the age of 80 years. Several trait theorists have postulated models of personality based on the factor analyses of traits expressed through personality inventories such as the California Psychological Inventory (CPI). For example Eysenck’s (1990) model of personality outlined two genetically influenced dimensions of personality, introversion – extroversion and stability – inability. A more widely accepted trait model is the Big Five Personality Factor Model. The Big Five Personality Factor Model frequently called the "Big Five or the "Five Factor Model", is an empirically derived model of personality based on the early study on traits by early psychologists (Feldman, 2007).The Five Factor Model comprises of Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness.Several other models of personality are closely lied with emotional intelligence theory, specifically the mixed models of Bar-On (1997) and Goleman (1995). Both models list components and sub-components of their theory of emotional intelligence which are similar to areas which have been previously studied under personality theory. Bar-On’s sub-components of assertiveness, interpersonal effectiveness, empathy, impulse control, social responsibility and reality testing have all been considered parts of personality and consequently measured as such by popular personality inventories. For example, the California Psycological Inventory (CPI) contains scales that include self-assurance, interpersonal effectiveness self-acceptance, self-control, flexibility and empathy. Likewise, several of Goleman’s (2001) emotional intelligence competencies include empathy, self-control, and self-confidence, are areas which have been extensively studied in personality psychology (Mayer, et al, 2000). The correspondence or overlap between components of emotional intelligence models and personality theory is especially evident in empirical comparisons of the constructs. For example, while comparing Bar-On’s (1997) measure of emotional intelligence, the Emotion Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) to the NEO-PI-R, a measure of the Big Five personality factors, the Emotion Quotient Inventory was found to correlate significantly with each factors. Highly significant correlations were found between the EQ-i and neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness factors (r’s = .27 to - .57) and moderately significant correlations were found with the openness factor of the Big Five (r = .16) (Brackett and Mayer, 2003) Goleman’s (2001) measure of emotional intelligence, the Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI) has been found to correlate significantly with three of the Big Five Personality Factors: extroversion, openness and conscientiousness (r’s = .22 to .49). (Sala, 2002). Equally, even the pure model of emotional intelligence, postulated by Salovey and Mayer (1990) has shown empirically significant correlationswith measures of personality. In comparing the pure measure of the model – the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (2002) and the NEO-PI-R, significant correlations were found between the openness (r = .25) and agreeableness (r = .28) factors of personality and emotional intelligence (Brackett and Mayer, 2003). Personality is a psychological construct that has been highly discussed in the literature and found to relate theoretically to emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence competencies of self-regulation, self-control, and self-modification are essential for self-direction. Self-regulation skills help the individual to deal with temptations. Resisting a tempting situation is often called self-control. Thus, the ability to resist temptation appears to be a learned skill. Certain kinds of thoughts and self-distractions allow a person to exercise greater self-control. Many children learn these skills without being aware of it. They only know that they want to avoid a particular temptation because they will gain a large reward if they wait. When self-regulation or self control skills fail to lead to the achievement of goods, it becomes necessary to self-regulate in a more self-conscious manner. A planned continuous effort to change behavior to cope with a task or achieve a goal is called self-modification. (Watson & Tharp, 1985) These skills developed through self-knowledge and practices are among the factors of emotional intelligence that lead to personality stability (PS). Earlier self-report measures of personality such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) Myers. Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) have factors corresponding to EI factors. Self report questionnaire are common EI and personality assessment instruments that involve an individual’s responses to a series of questions. In related studies, humanistic theory of personality, argue that people are basically good and tend to grow to higher levels of functioning – and that this consciousness, self-motivated ability to change and improve, along with peoples unique creative impulses, make-up the core of personality. The theory suggests that people have a need for positive regard that reflects a universal requirement to be loved and respected. The humanistic theory of personality as reflected by Maslow’s (1954) Need Theory suggests that self-actualizers naturally have stronger emotional intelligence. People struggling to meet lower order needs, and arguably even middle order needs, tend to have lower EI than self-actualizers. The Maslow’s 5 stage Hierarchy of Needs explain that all needs other than self-actualizations are deficiency drivers which suggests, in other words, some EI development potential or weakness. (Nelson & Quick, 2003, Costa & McCrae, 1992, Salgado, 1997) Taylor, et al, 1999, Reeves, et al, 1991, Regan 2000, Reisberg, 1997, Katyal&Awgathi, 2005, Khosroshahi, et al, 2013, Nasir&Masur, 2010, Weisberg, et al, 2011, Wolfradt, et al 2001, Barnett &Salovey, 2002, Saklofske, et al, 2003).

2.2. The Ability Model of Emotional Intelligence

The ability model of emotional intelligence centres on a person’s skill in recognizing emotional information and carrying out abstract reasoning using this emotional information (Mayer &Salovey, 1997) More importantly emotional intelligence relates to the "abilities to perceive, appraise, and express emotions, to access and/or generate feelings to facilitate thought; to understand emotions and emotional knowledge; and to regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth. This definition by Salovey and Mayer (1990) relates to different abilities or skills, which Mayer and Salovey (1997) refer to as branches. The first branch of the ability model involves the identification of emotions, the second branch is concerned with the utilization of emotions, the third focuses on the understanding of emotions, while the fourth branch deals with the managing of emotions. Managing emotions includes the ability to stay aware of one’s emotions, even those that are unpleasant, the ability to determine whether an emotion is clear or typical and the ability to solve emotion-laden problems without necessarily suppressing negative emotions. Goleman (1995) based his classic work on the initial Salovey and Mayer (1990) definition but added components such as zeal, persistence, and social skills. The result of this popularization is that there is a broad range of approach to the subject, from the Mayer-Salovey ability based conception, to lists of competencies, to approaches concerning psychological wellbeing (Caruso, et al, 2002, Goleman, 1998, Bar-On, 1997). For a better understanding of the science of emotional intelligence, two alternative conceptions of the subject are critical: an ability model and a mixed model (Mayer, et al, 2000) Ability models place emotional intelligence within the perspective of pure intelligence in which emotion and thought interact in meaningful and adaptive ways. Emotional intelligence is viewed much like verbal or spatial intelligence, except that it operates on, and with, emotional content. Mixed models blend various aspects of personality. These different models of emotional intelligence have given rise to different ways to measure the construct. Mixed models have been operationalized in self-report measures. The ability based model has also seen the development of self-report measures such as the Schutte Self-Report Emotional Intelligence (SSREI) (Boyetzis, et al, 2000, Salovey et al, 1995, Schutte, et al, 1998, Davies, et al, 1998).


3.1. Participants

The sample consisted of 300 participants (200 females and 100 males) ranging in age from 15 to 23 (Mean = 19 years, SD = -4). 185 or about 61.67% of the participants had certificates, 70, or about 23.33% had Bachelor’s degrees, 30, or about 10% had Master’s degrees, 10, or about 3.33% had Higher diplomas while 5, representing about 1.67% obtained Doctorate degrees. (Feldman, 2007) The participants were generated from the general population across Abia State, Nigeria.

3.2. Materials

A questionnaire adapted from the Schutte Self-Report Emotional Intelligence (SSREI) scale developed by Schutte, et al, (1998) was used for data collection. The SSREI is comprised of 33, 5-point Likert Scale items, three of which are negatively keyed. Previous investigations have found the total scores on the SSREI scale to be acceptably internally consistent with Cronbach’s Alpha of .90. Also, content and construct validity have been established. The mean and SD of the SSREI, range from Mean = 17.1, SD = 9.57.

3.3. Procedure

The date collection, materials were administered on the participants by the investigated and two assistants. The participants were given four weeks to respond to be questions. All the materials administered were retrieved, the responses pooled, and found suitable for the purpose of analysis.

3.4. Data Analysis

Quantitative data were analyzed through Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation (PPMC) technique using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and the results were presented in tables.

4. Presentation of Result



Table 1. Descriptive Statistics.

  Mean Std. N
EI - 43038 .497711 6
Personality 4.35 3.461 6

Table 2. Correlations.

  EI Personality
EI Pearson’s Correlation 1 .799*
  Sig. (1-tailed)   .028
  N 6 6
Personality Pearson’s Correlation .799* 1
  Sig. (1-tailed) .028  
  N 6 6

* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (1-tailed).

4.1. Interpretation of Correlation Result

The correlation coefficient in table 2 was r = .799* which showed a strong positive relationship between emotional intelligence and personality stability. With this result, the hypothesis which stated that EI has no relationship with personality stability was rejected while his alternate hypothesis was accepted. The present result supports the works of earlier researchers like Myers (1998) Brackett and Mayer (2003) Sala (2002) among others who have found significant positive correlations between emotional intelligence and personality.

4.2. Discussion

In the last 30 years and more, the field of psychology broadened the nonintellective paradigm of early psychologists involving multiple intelligences, and especially emotional intelligence. Gardner (1983) introduced the idea of multiple intelligences including personal intelligences which encompass intrapersonal intelligence - knowing yourself – and interpersonal intelligence – knowing how to get along with others. This idea is related to the concept of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence has received much attention as a concept that is useful in understanding and predicting behavior and personality modification. Emotional intelligence involves competencies that enable a person to demonstrate intelligent use of his emotions in managing himself and working with other people effectively. It is a convenient construct that focuses attention on human talent, behavior and personality. An integrated concept of emotional intelligence offers more than a convenient framework for describing human dispositions – it offers a theoretical structure for the organization of personality and linking it to a theory of action and behavior (Goleman, 1995) Goleman (1998) defines an emotional competence as a learned capability based on emotional intelligence that results in outstanding performance at work. To this extent, emotional intelligence is observed when a person demonstrates the competencies that constitute self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and social skills at appropriate times and ways in sufficient frequency to be effective in the situation, and emotional intelligence is an important construct to build a personality theory. For example the Big Five Personality Factors of self-consciousness, impulsiveness, and vulnerability, are related to Bar-On’s factors of self-regard, impulse control stress tolerance and Goleman’s factors of ability to shake off anxiety and stifling impulsiveness. Other Big Five Personality Factors such as assertiveness, positive emotions, feeling, trust, tender mindedness, have been found to correspond with Bar-On’s factors of assertiveness, optimism, emotional self-awareness, interpersonal relationships, empathy, problem-solving as well as Goleman’s EI factors of monitoring feelings, attunement to others, empathic awareness, among others. The correspondence of these personality and EI factors provides the essential theoretical evidence of the influence of emotional intelligence on personality stability. More recently Petrides et al (2007) insist that EI should be investigated within a personality theory. Their Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue)provides an operationalization for their model that conceptualizes EI in terms of personality. The test encompasses 15 subscales organized under four factors: well-being, self-control, emotionality, and sociability. The psychometric properties of the TEIQue were investigated in a study on French-speaking population, where it was reported that TEIQue scores were globally normally distributed and reliable. The researchers also found TEIQue scores were unrelated to nonverbal reasoning which they interprete as support for the personality trait view of EI, as opposed to a form of intelligence. Also, TEIQue scores were positively related to some of the Big Five Personality traits of extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, as well as inversely related to others like alexithymia and neuroticism. Alexithymia is a term used by the researchers to describe people who appeared to have deficiencies in understanding, processing, or describing their emotions. Personality is an individual difference that lends consistency to a person’s behavior. It is related to a set of characteristics that influence an individual’sbehavior. Although there is debate about the determinants of personality, it may be concluded that there are several origins. One determinant is heredity, and some interesting studies have support this position. Identical twins who are separated at birth and raised apart in very different situations have been found to share personality traits and job preferences. For example, about half of the variation in traits like extraversion, impulsiveness, and flexibility, was found to be genetically determined. Another determinant of personality is the environment a person is exposed to. Family influences, educational influences and other environmental forces shape personality. Personality is therefore shaped by both heredity and environment. Trait theory states that in order to understand individuals, behavior patterns should be broken down into a series of observerable traits as in the case of the case of the Big Five, which includes emotional stability. Psychoanalytic personality theory emphasizes the unconscious determinants of behavior. The major contribution of the theory to the understanding of personality is its focus on unconscious influences on behavior. In contrast, the humanistic theory of personality emphasizes individual growth and improvement, is people centered and also emphasizes the individual’s view of the world. The humanistic theory contributes an understanding of the self to personality theory and contends that the self-concept is the most important part of an individual’s personality. Contemporary researchers like Feldman (2007) have taken a broader and more integrative approach to the study of personality. To capture its influence on behavior, personality is described as a composite of the individual’s psychological processes. Personality dispositions include emotions, cognitions, attitudes expectancies and fantasies. Dispositions in this approach simply mean the tendencies of individuals to respond to situations in consistent ways, influenced by both genetics and experiences. This integrative approach focuses on both person and situation variables as combined predictors of behavior. The romance between emotional intelligence and personality stability lies in the fact that human dispositions can be modified through the dispositional influence of emotional intelligence.From the perspectives of Salovey and Mayer (1990) individuals are generally motivated to maintain, even prolong pleasant moods but attempt to avoid the experience of unpleasant moods. These processes are known as mood maintenance and mood repair. This motivational view assumes that individuals attempt to maximize pleasurable experiences and terminate aversive ones. This seeming process of self-regulation helps in suggesting that emotional intelligence lies at this heart and soul of personality stability.

4.3. Recommendations

i)      The process of personality stability should start well through the adolescent year. This is imperative because having a consistent personality tract early is critical for life success.

ii)     Individuals should learn the skill of self-modification so as to enhance the chances of achieving desired goals.

iii)   Negative behaviours such as militancy and restiveness have been associated with adolescents in Nigeria. To build positive personality patterns, educational planners should emphasize courses on personality through secondary to higher education in Nigeria.

iv)   Environmental factors influence personality and to this extent, employers should appreciate the need that employees have the need to be loved and respected as a universal requirement for sound behavior and higher performance. If workers are shabbily treated they may not put in their best and their personality may not be discernable.

4.4. Scope for Further Study

Further study should explore the relationship between emotional intelligence and alexithymia so as to find a way of helping people who have problems in expressing themselves in an acceptable manner.

5. Conclusion

Emotional intelligence is concerned with effectively understanding the self and others, relating very well to people, and adapting to and coping with the immediate environment so as to be more accurate in dealing with situations at hand. Major EI researchers emphasize that emotional intelligence is critical for success in meeting environmental demands including the determination of behavior patterns. Many of EI factors have been found to relate positively with personality traits. Personality dispositions include emotions, cognitions, attitudes, and fantasies. The romance between emotional intelligence and personality lie in the fact that human dispositions can be modified through the dispositional influence of emotional intelligence and result to personality stability. This study in furtherance of earlier studies by other researchers found strong positive relationship between emotional intelligence and personality stability.


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Dr. Ugoani is a Senior lecturer and Coordinator, College of Management and Social Sciences, Rhema University, Aba. He teaches courses on business, management, production management, human resource management, psychology, industrial psychology, and industrial relations. He supervised the development of his College’s curriculum through NUC- National Universities Commission’s accreditation in 2013. John is recognized for presenting the first best PhD Dissertation in Management at the Faculty of Business Administration, Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria. He has over 50 scholarly publications with full  paper readership downloads and abstract views over 1000 and 5000 respectively and listed among Ten Top Authors by SSRN.

MA 02210, USA
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