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Keywords:

  • emotional intelligence;
  • physical health;
  • psychological health;
  • smoking;
  • drinking;
  • exercise

Abstract

This study investigates the relationship of emotional intelligence (EI) characteristics, such as perception, control, use and understanding of emotions, with physical and psychological health. In the first study, 365 individuals filled in measures of EI and general health. It was hypothesized that EI would be negatively associated with poor general health. In the second study, 212 working adults completed the same measure of EI and another measure, which apart from the standard information regarding physical and psychological health, provided also information about other health related behaviours, such as smoking, drinking, and exercising. It was also hypothesized that EI would negatively correlate with smoking and drinking and positively correlate with exercising. The findings confirmed both hypotheses and provided further support on the claims that there is a relationship between EI and health functioning. Additionally, in a series of hierarchical regression analyses the unique contribution of each of the EI scales on the overall health score were investigated. The findings are discussed in the context of the importance of emotional competences on health and personal lifestyle, while implications for practice and directions for future research are proposed. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.