An Investigation of Emotional Intelligence Measures Using Item Response Theory

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This study investigated the psychometric properties of 3 frequently administered emotional intelligence (EI) scales (Wong and Law Emotional Intelligence Scale [WLEIS], Schutte Self-Report Emotional Intelligence Test [SEIT], and Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire [TEIQue]), which were developed on the basis of different theoretical frameworks (i.e., ability EI and mixed EI). By conducting item response theory (IRT) analyses, the authors examined the item parameters and compared the fits of 2 response process models (i.e., dominance model and ideal point model) for these scales with data from 355 undergraduate sample recruited from the subject pool. Several important findings were obtained. First, the EI scales seem better able to differentiate individuals at low trait levels than high trait levels. Second, a dominance model showed better model fit to the self-report ability EI scale (WLEIS) and also fit better with most subfactors of the SEIT, except for the mood regulation/optimism factor. Both dominance and ideal point models fit a self-report mixed EI scale (TEIQue). Our findings suggest (a) the EI scales should be revised to include more items at moderate and higher trait levels; and (b) the nature of the EI construct should be considered during the process of scale development.

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