Higher emotional intelligence is related to lower test anxiety among students

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2016 Jan 12:12:133-6. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S98259. eCollection 2016.


Background: For students attending university courses, experiencing test anxiety (TA) dramatically impairs cognitive performance and success at exams. Whereas TA is a specific case of social phobia, emotional intelligence (EI) is an umbrella term covering interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, along with positive stress management, adaptability, and mood. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that higher EI and lower TA are associated. Further, sex differences were explored.

Method: During an exam week, a total of 200 university students completed questionnaires covering sociodemographic information, TA, and EI.

Results: Higher scores on EI traits were associated with lower TA scores. Relative to male participants, female participants reported higher TA scores, but not EI scores. Intrapersonal and interpersonal skills and mood predicted low TA, while sex, stress management, and adaptability were excluded from the equation.

Conclusion: The pattern of results suggests that efforts to improve intrapersonal and interpersonal skills, and mood might benefit students with high TA. Specifically, social commitment might counteract TA.

Keywords: emotional intelligence; interpersonal skills; intrapersonal skills; students; test anxiety.