Confirming the factor structure of the 41–item version of the Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale
Bester, Salemon Marais
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The research on Emotional Intelligence (EI) has advanced considerably over the past 20 years because of the construct’s scientific and practical relevance. However, in South Africa, a measurement instrument of EI that is valid, reliable, standardised, has a consistent factor structure, in a homogeneous working sample and that can be utilised for research and practical purposes is still elusive. EI plays a fundamental role in the quality of service rendered by nurses (Murphy & Janeke, 2009). According to Ogillska-Bulik (2005) the ability to manage one’s own emotions, while having the ability to identify others' emotions, is very important in the nursing environment. The Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale (SEIS) has been found as a reliable brief scale for measuring trait EI (Schutte & Malouff, 1998). However, there are different results regarding the factor structure of the S. The first objective of this research study was to conceptualise EI and the factor structure of the SEIS through a literature review. Salovey and Mayer (1990) define EI as a mental ability pertaining to the relationship between emotion and cognition. Other researchers’ definition of EI states that EI is the ability to be conscious of one’s emotions, to evaluate and develop one’s emotions to assist thinking, to comprehend emotions and emotional information, and to manage emotions to sustain emotional and intellectual development in oneself (Bar-On, 2000; Goleman, 1998; Salovey & Mayer 1997). Murphy and Janeke (2009) state it is important that reliable and valid measures of EI must be used in the workplace. Numerous research has been done on the most appropriate, valid and reliable approach for the measurement of EI (Petrides & Furnham, 2000; Van Rooy & Viswesvaran, 2005). The SEIS is the leading brief scale for measuring EI (Petrides & Furnham, 2000). However, there are problems with its factor structures. To summarise: a) Schutte et al. (1998) report a unifactorial structure for the SEIS, b) Austin, Saklofske, Huang, and McKenny (2004) report a three-factor structure. c) Petrides and Furnham (2000); Ciarrochi, Chan, and Bajar (2001); Ciarrochi, Chan, Caputi, and Roberts (2001) and Saklofske, Austin, and Minski (2003) report a four-factor structure. d) Jonker and Vosloo (2009) reported a six-factor structure. The second objective of this study was to investigate the factor structure of the 41-item version of the Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale within a South African nursing environment by means of a confirmatory factor analysis. A quantitative research design was used in this study. A cross-sectional survey design was used for this study. An availability non-probability sample (N = 290) was taken from hospitals in the Gauteng and North-West Provinces of South Africa. The Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale was applied as measuring scale. An exploratory factor analysis (principal component analysis) was performed on the data. The data did not fit a unifactor, two-factor or three-factor model based on the model of Austin, Saklofske, Huang, and McKenney (2004). The data fitted the original model of Emotional Intelligence of Mayer and Salovey (1990), best explaining 58.52% of the variance. The results supported a five-factor structure of the Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale. The five factors were named: Emotion Utilisation; Emotion Management; Emotion Awareness; Emotion Perceiving and Emotion Integration. Recommendations were made for future research.