How Efficient Are Emotional Intelligence Trainings: A Meta-Analysis

Hodzic, S., Scharfen, J., Ripoll, P., Holling, H., Zenasni, F. (2018). How Efficient Are Emotional Intelligence Trainings: A Meta-Analysis. Emotion Review, 10 (2), 138-148. doi: 10.1177/1754073917708613

Emotional Intelligence (EI) has been steadily gaining in popularity over the last decade. This has been accompanied by a rise in interventions targeting outcomes such as life-satisfaction, mental health and employability by improving the Emotional Intelligence of children, adolescents and adults. The attached paper is the first to present an extensive meta-analysis on the efficacy of EI interventions.
In discussing common theoretical approaches to EI in the literature, the authors note differences in theoretical models, in particular the difference between trait, ability and mixed models of EI. They further highlight Mayer and Salovey’s four branch model (perceiving emotions, facilitating thought, understanding emotions and managing emotions) as one of the most scientifically rigorous ability models in the literature.
The meta-analysis conducted was a statistical analysis that looked at the combined results from 24 studies, all aiming to increase EI through different forms of intervention.

Based on general agreement in the field that aspects of EI can be developed, the authors hypothesised that the results will show that EI interventions will have a significant effect on increasing the level of EI in those receiving the intervention. The authors also hypothesised that the effects of EI training would be greater in interventions based on ability models than those based on trait and mixed models. It is worth noting that this analysis looked only at adult interventions (aged 16 and over), with the authors explaining that the expected change in adult EI may not be comparable to the expected changes in children owing to developmental advantages that children have in acquiring these types of skills. The overall group size surveyed consisted of 1.986 adults (mean age = 26.59 years, 64% females) who received EI interventions with results published between 2006 and 2016. Results supported previous findings, confirming that EI training interventions increased EI and that interventions based on ability models yielded significantly better results than mixed or trait EI models. It is also important to note that the follow up results suggest that any positive changes in EI following interventions remained over time.
The results of this meta-analysis provide strong evidence for the use of EI interventions to improve EI and confirm that the most effective interventions are informed by an ability based model of EI, as in Mayer and Salovey’s four branch model.