Emotional intelligence in higher education students


  • Eduardo Santos Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, Viseu, Portugal | UICISA: E - Unidade de Investigação em Ciências da Saúde: Enfermagem, Viseu, Portugal https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0557-2377
  • Manuela Ferreira Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, Viseu, Portugal | UICISA: E - Unidade de Investigação em Ciências da Saúde: Enfermagem, Viseu, Portugal https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8452-2222
  • Célia Ribeiro Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, Viseu, Portugal | CI&DEI - Centro de Estudos em Educação e Inovação, Viseu, Portugal https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1000-6890
  • Ana Paula Cardoso Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, Viseu, Portugal | CI&DEI - Centro de Estudos em Educação e Inovação, Viseu, Portugal https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5062-4098
  • Margarida Cunha Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, Viseu, Portugal | CI&DEI - Centro de Estudos em Educação e Inovação, Viseu, Portugal https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0500-0566
  • Sofia Campos Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, Viseu, Portugal | CI&DEI - Centro de Estudos em Educação e Inovação, Viseu, Portugal https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4696-3537




emotional intelligence; students; higher education


Introduction: Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and deal with personal and other individuals' emotions and feelings. Although the role of emotions in student engagement has been studied, little is known about how emotional intelligence is related to engagement and other key learning outcomes in higher education.

Objetive: To describe the levels of emotional intelligence of higher education students; to ascertain predictors of emotional intelligence in higher education students.

Methods: Quantitative, cross-sectional, descriptive-correlational study. The sample was non-probability by convenience, consisting of 538 higher education students, mostly female (74.21%), with a mean age of 21.53±4.53 years.

Results: The highest emotional intelligence scores correspond to the perception of own emotions (M=32.78±5.57) and the sociocognitive component of emotions (M=32.27±4.87). Students with a higher overall emotional intelligence score are those who study daily (p=.002). Control, social engagement, self-esteem, and happiness established a positive association (β=.21; p<.001; β=.14; p=.002; β=.13; p=.02; β=.18; p=.004, respectively) with emotional intelligence. Balance established a negative association (β=-.16; p<.001) with emotional intelligence.

Conclusion: Control, social involvement, self-esteem, happiness, and balance are predictors of emotional intelligence. There is a need for the implementation of programs that promote the development of emotional intelligence.


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Author Biography

Eduardo Santos, Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, Viseu, Portugal | UICISA: E - Unidade de Investigação em Ciências da Saúde: Enfermagem, Viseu, Portugal

Degree in Nursing (2010). Postgraduate in Management and Health Services Administration (2012). Postgraduate in Wound and Tissue Regeneration (2012). Master and Specialist in Medical-Surgical Nursing (2015). PhD in Nursing Sciences (2020). Associate Professor at the Nursing School of Coimbra (ESEnfC), Portugal. Associate research at the Portugal Centre for Evidence Based Practice: A JBI Centre of Excellence, Health Sciences Research Unit: Nursing (UICISA: E - ESEnfC) and at the Núcleo de Investigação em Enfermagem (NIE - CHUC). Published 88 articles in specialized journals, 56 papers in international conference proceedings and has published 2 books and 1 chapter. Received 13 awards and/or honors. Captivated more than 3 MM€ in competitive research projects.


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How to Cite

Santos, E., Ferreira, M., Ribeiro, C., Cardoso, A. P., Cunha, M., & Campos, S. (2023). Emotional intelligence in higher education students . Millenium - Journal of Education, Technologies, and Health, 2(13e), e29759. https://doi.org/10.29352/mill0213e.29759



Life and Healthcare Sciences