Effects of Emotional Intelligence Training on Adolescent Mental Health

Purpose

To analyze the effects that an emotional intelligence (EI) educational program based on the EI ability model had on adolescent mental health immediately and 6 months after completion of the training.

Methods

A pretest–posttest quasi-experimental design with a treatment and a control group was used; 479 Spanish adolescents (47.4% male, mean age of 13 years) were involved in the study. Adolescents were recruited through several schools in three Spanish cities. The 2-year training program involved 24 sessions lasting 1 hour each, conducted `weekly during 6 months of 2009 and 2010. Data on psychological adjustment, mental health, and negative affect were collected at baseline, at the end of the training program, and 6 months later. Data were analyzed by multivariate analysis of covariance.

Results

Students who participated in the EI educational program reported fewer clinical symptoms compared with students in the control group, and these differences persisted 6 months after the conclusion of the program.

Conclusions

These results suggest that EI programs created to develop skills in perceiving, facilitating, understanding, and managing emotions can be effective at promoting mental health in adolescents.

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