Discovery Fit & Health
Emotional intelligence is a part of a person's overall intelligence. It's the ability to deal with society, one's environment and to think rationally [source: EI Consortium]. Links have been found between emotional intelligence and the ability to manage stress, as well as lower rates of psychological distress. High emotional intelligence has even been connected to depression rates lower than those of less emotionally intelligent people. Emotionally intelligent people tend to have better developed social networks that help them when such things as how to handle when sickness arises. The ability to socialize may actually help delay the onset of dementia. Evidently, this is because the emotionally intelligent person may be more willing to see a doctor and to subsequently heed a doctor's advice.
Emotional intelligence as a term or complete concept only appeared in 1995 when it was introduced by Daniel Goleman. As a result, there still is a lot of research on the topic. Low emotional intelligence has been associated with loneliness and a tendency toward depression and higher emotional intelligence has been associated with happiness and life satisfaction. A study in Belgium recently found that a depressed person's emotional intelligence really depended on whether the person was in a state of remission from the depression or actively depressed at the time. When in remission, people diagnosed with depression had emotional intelligence scores similar to people who do not have depression [source: Hansenne and Bianchi].
Overall, measuring depression's relationship to personality and emotional intelligence is difficult. Personality can affect depression, but depression also can affect personality. There are several measures of emotional intelligence that can help researchers carve out links between indicators of depression and signs of emotional intelligence.
Still, school programs aimed at teaching young people with social and emotional learning along with academic skills have shown positive results. A study of about 800 elementary kids who received educations that included social and emotional learning skills showed that by age 18, the students had lower histories of violence and alcohol abuse and lower rates of depression, anxiety and social phobia by their mid-20s [source: DeAngelis].
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