Emotional intelligence and relationship quality among couples


  • The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of Erin Fisher who helped to gather many of the resources that helped the authors write this article.

should be addressed to Marc A. Brackett, Yale University, Department of Psychology, New Haven, CT 06511, e-mail: marc.brackett@yale.edu.


To assess whether emotional intelligence (EI) is related to self-assessed relationship quality, an ability test of EI and measures of relationship quality were administered to 86 heterosexual couples in a university setting. Results indicated that female partners were significantly higher in EI than male partners and that EI scores were uncorrelated within couples. Two 2 × 2 multiple analyses of variance (performed separately for positive and negative outcomes) assessed how relationship quality measures differed across four different types of couples (high-EI female/high-EI male, low-EI female/low-EI male, etc.). As predicted, couples with both partners low on EI tended to have the lowest scores on depth, support, and positive relationship quality and the highest scores on conflict and negative relationship quality. Counter to our hypotheses, couples with both partners high on EI did not consistently have higher scores on positive outcomes and lower scores on negative outcomes than couples with one high-EI partner.