• alexithymia;
  • confirmatory factor analysis;
  • death anxiety;
  • emotional intelligence;
  • nurses;
  • nursing students;
  • self-esteem

Aims and objectives

To examine the psychometric properties of the Trait Meta-Mood Scale in the nursing context and to determine the relationships between emotional intelligence, self-esteem, alexithymia and death anxiety.


The Trait Meta-Mood Scale is one of the most widely used self-report measures for assessing perceived emotional intelligence. However, in the nursing context, no extensive analysis has been conducted to examine its psychometric properties.


Cross-sectional and observational study.


A total of 1417 subjects participated in the study (1208 nursing students and 209 hospital nurses). The Trait Meta-Mood Scale, the Toronto Alexithymia Scale, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and the Death Anxiety Inventory were all applied to half of the sample (n = 707). A confirmatory factor analysis was carried out, and statistical analyses examined the internal consistency and test–retest reliability of the Trait Meta-Mood Scale, as well as its relationship with relevant variables.


Confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the three dimensions of the original scale (Attention, Clarity and Repair). The instrument showed adequate internal consistency and temporal stability. Correlational results indicated that nurses with high scores on emotional Attention experience more death anxiety, report greater difficulties identifying feelings and have less self-esteem. By contrast, nurses with high levels of emotional Clarity and Repair showed less death anxiety and higher levels of self-esteem.


The Trait Meta-Mood Scale is an effective, valid and reliable tool for measuring perceived emotional intelligence in the nursing context. Training programmes should seek to promote emotional abilities among nurses.

Relevance to clinical practice

Use of the Trait Meta-Mood Scale in the nursing context would provide information about nurses' perceived abilities to interpret and manage emotions when interacting with patients.