Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Russell E. Gruber


Despite its relatively recent origins, Emotional Intelligence (EI), which is the ability to perceive, understand, and manage one's emotions, has been shown to contribute to a variety of outcomes, including academic achievement and relationship satisfaction. Considerable support has been gathered to implicate EI in the development of mental illness such as depression and social anxiety. It has been theorized that a potential pathway in which EI affects mental health is by contributing to the development of coping styles. Stress and coping literature reports enough empirical evidence to suggest that broadly speaking, problem-focused coping is 'adaptive' while avoidant coping is 'maladaptive.' Despite theoretical and empirical links between EI, coping styles, and mental illness, very few studies have examined this relationship empirically. This study examined the literature connecting EI, coping styles and psychopathology, and used mediated models to study the relationship between EI and depressive and social anxiety symptoms (Figure 1). Coping style partially mediated 5 of the 6 models although they were not all in the hypothesized direction. These results along with possible explanations for these findings, suggestions for future research, and clinical implications are presented.