Home / Regular Issue / JSSH Vol. 30 (2) Jun. 2022 / JSSH-8398-2021


Emotional Intelligence Online Learning and its Impact on University Students’ Mental Health: A Quasi-Experimental Investigation

Nor Firdous Mohamed, Priyalatha Govindasamy, Bahbibi Rahmatullah and Sigit Purnama

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Volume 30, Issue 2, June 2022

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47836/pjssh.30.2.13

Keywords: Emotional intelligence, mental health, online learning, undergraduates

Published on: 9 June 2022

This study has two aims: first, to compare the effectiveness of emotional intelligence intervention through online learning versus face-to-face (traditional) learning methods among undergraduate students at a local university in Malaysia. Second, it assesses the impact of emotional intelligence learning on students’ mental health improvement. It is a 2 x 3 factorial quasi-experimental (online learning) using an equivalent control group (face-to-face learning) pre-post-test. Both experimental and control groups comprised 40 students, respectively. The study is set in a classroom and several computer labs in the designated university e-learning facilities. Mixed ANOVA repeated measures analysis results indicate that the online learning group shows no difference from the face-to-face learning group in emotional intelligence learning. Despite that, this study significantly impacts the growth of emotional intelligence skills on students’ mental health among online learning groups. In addition, there is improvement in students with depression over seven weeks of pre-post-test. We propose online learning to be as effective as face-to-face learning in teaching emotional intelligence in light of these findings. We further argue that online learning is more accessible and meaningful to undergraduate students’ emotional intelligence. This study suggests that emotional intelligence is a crucial skill for students to maintain optimal mental health during their studies. Nevertheless, further investigation is needed to develop a feasible and cost-effective online learning medium accessible to students of all backgrounds.

  • Abdollahi, A., & Abu Talib, M. (2016). Self-esteem, body-esteem, emotional intelligence, and social anxiety in a college sample: The moderating role of weight. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 21(2), 221-225. https://doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2015.1017825

  • Alexander, B. (2014, September 15). Higher education in 2024: Glimpsing the future. Educause Review. http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/higher-education-2024-glimpsing-future

  • Ali, J. (2017). High level of emotional intelligence is related to high level of online teaching self-efficacy among academic nurse educators. International Journal of Higher Education, 6(5), 122-130. https://doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v6n5p122

  • Amhag, L., Hellström, L., & Stigmar, M. (2019). Teacher educators’ use of digital tools and needs for digital competence in higher education. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 35(4), 203-220. https://doi.org/10.1080/21532974.2019.1646169

  • Barros, C., & Sacau-Fontenla, A. (2021). New insights on the mediating role of emotional intelligence and social support on university students’ mental health during COVID-19 pandemic: Gender matters. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(24), Article 12935. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182412935

  • Beard, D., & Schwieger, D. (2008). Integrating soft skills assessments through university, college and programmatic efforts at an AACSB accredited institution. Journal of Information System Education, 19(2), 229-240. http://jise.org/volume19/n2/JISEv19n2p229.html

  • Choi, Y., Song, E., & Oh, E. (2015). Effects of teaching communication skills using a video clip on a smart phone on communication competence and emotional intelligence in nursing students. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 29(2), 90-95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apnu.2014.11.003

  • Conley, C. S. (2015). SEL in higher education. In J. A. Durlak, C. E. Domitrovich, R. P. Weissberg, & T. P. Gullota (Eds.), Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning: Research and Practice (pp.197-212). The Guilford Press. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2015-24776-013

  • Cooley, E., Toray, T., Valdez, N., & Tee, M. (2007). Risk factors for maladaptive eating patterns in college women. Eating and Weight Disorders-Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity, 12(3), 132-139. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03327640

  • Cooper, A., & Petrides, K. V. (2010). A psychometric analysis of the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire–Short Form (TEIQue–SF) using item response theory. Journal of Personality Assessment, 92(5), 449-457. https://doi.org/10.1080/00223891.2010.497426

  • Cotler J. L., DiTursi, D., Goldstein, I., Yates, J., & DelBelso, D. (2017). A mindful approach to teaching emotional intelligence to undergraduate students online and in person. Information Systems Education Journal, 15(1), 12-25. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1135358

  • Crayen, C., Geiser, C., Scheithauer, H., & Eid, M. (2011). Evaluating interventions with multimethod data: A structural equation modeling approach. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 18(4), 497-524. https://doi.org/10.1080/10705511.2011.607068

  • Daniel, D. (2007, June 25). Soft skills for CIOs and aspiring CIOs: Four ways to boost your emotional intelligence. CIO. https://www.cio.com/article/2438627/soft-skills-for-cios-and-aspiring-cios--four-ways-to-boost-your-emo.html

  • Davis, S. K. (2018). Emotional intelligence in adolescence and early adulthood. In P. Qualter & L. Dacre-Pool (Eds.), An introduction to emotional intelligence (pp. 105-122). Wiley-Blackwell.

  • de Vibe, M., Solhaug, I., Tyssen, R., Friborg, O., Rosenvinge, J. H., Sørlie, T., & Bjørndal, A. (2013). Mindfulness training for stress management: A randomised controlled study of medical and psychology students. BMC Medical Education, 13(107). https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6920-13-107

  • Dev, R. O., & Rahman, A. R. A. (2016). Influence of emotional intelligence as the mediator between physical activity and mental health (distress) among Malaysian university students. International E-Journal of Advances in Social Sciences, 2(5), 492-500. https://doi.org/10.18769/ijasos.95534

  • Dunn, L. B., Iglewicz, A., & Moutier, C. (2008). A conceptual model of medical student well-being: Promoting resilience and preventing burnout. Academic Psychiatry, 32(1), 44-53. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ap.32.1.44

  • Fernandaz, R., Salamonson, Y., & Griffiths, R. (2012). Emotional intelligence as a predictor of academic performance in first year accelerated graduate entry nursing students. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 21, 3485-3492, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2702.2012.04199.x

  • Geßler, S., Nezlek, J. B., & Schütz, A. (2020). Training emotional intelligence: Does training in basic emotional abilities help people to improve higher emotional abilities? The Journal of Positive Psychology, 16(4), 455-464. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2020.1738537

  • Gohm, C. L., Corser, G. C., & Dalsky, D. J. (2005). Emotional intelligence under stress: Useful, unnecessary, or irrelevant? Personality and Individual Differences, 39(6), 1017-1028. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2005.03.018

  • Goleman, D. (1998). Working with emotional intelligence. Bantam Books.

  • Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., & McKee, A. (2013). Primal leadership: Unleashing the power of emotional intelligence. Harvard Business Press.

  • Hamdzah, N. L. A., Hassan, S. N. S., & Hassan, R. (2016). Examining the level of emotional intelligence among semester one students in Universiti Teknologi Mara Pahang. Journal of Human Capital Development, 9(1), 33-46. http://www.myjurnal.my/public/article-view.php?id=95832

  • Hodzic, S., Scharfen, J., Ripoll, P., Holling, H., & Zenasni, F. (2017). How efficient are emotional intelligence trainings: A meta-analysis. Emotion Review, 10(2), 138-148. https://doi.org/10.1177/1754073917708613

  • Hughes, M., & Terrell, J. B. (2012). Emotional intelligence in action training and coaching activities for leaders, managers, and teams (2nd ed.). John Willey & Sons.

  • Jensen, S., Kohn, C., Rilea, S., Hannon, R., & Howells, G. (2007). Emotional intelligence: A literature review. University of the Pacific Department of Psychology. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/251614532_Emotional_Intelligence_A_Literature_Review/citations

  • Khraisat, A. M. S., Rahim, A. F. A., & Yusoff, M. S. B. (2015). Emotional intelligence of USM medical students. Education in Medicine Journal, 7(4).

  • Kotsou, I., Mikolajczak, M., Heeren, A, Grégoire, J., Leys, C. (2019). Improving emotional intelligence: A systematic review of existing work and future challenges. Emotion Review, 11(2), 151-165. https://doi.org/10.1177/1754073917735902

  • Kruger, J., & Blignaut, A. (2013). Linking emotional intelligence to achieve technology enhanced learning in higher education. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 14(4), 99-120. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1042580

  • Lin, Y., Lee, T., Hsu, S., & Lin, S. (2011). What causes the emotional intelligence suffered by students at universities and colleges of technology? World Transactions on Engineering and Technology Education, 9(2), 102-108. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289628305_What_causes_the_emotional_intelligence_suffered_by_students_at_universities_and_colleges_of_technology

  • Lopes, P. N., Salovey, P., Côté, S., Beers, M., & Petty, R. E. (2005). Emotion regulation abilities and the quality of social interaction. Emotion, 5, 113-118. https://doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.5.1.113

  • Lovibond, S. H., & Lovibond, P. F. (1995). Manual for the depression anxiety stress scales (2nd ed.). Psychology Foundation of Australia.

  • Mattingly, V., & Kraiger, K. (2019). Can emotional intelligence be trained? A meta-analytical investigation. Human Resource Management Review, 29(2), 140-155. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrmr.2018.03.002

  • Malinauskas, R., Dumciene, A., Sipaviciene, S., & Malinauskiene, V. (2018). Relationship between emotional intelligence and health behaviours among university students: The predictive and moderating role of gender. Biomed Research International, 1(11), Article 7058105. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/7058105

  • Moroń, M., & Biolik-Moroń M. (2021). Trait emotional intelligence and emotional experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in Poland: A daily diary study. Personality and Individual Differences, 168, Article 110348. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2020.110348

  • Naz, S., Li, C., Nisar, Q. A., & Rafiq, M. (2019). Linking emotional intelligence to knowledge sharing behaviour: Mediating role of job satisfaction and organisational commitment. Middle East Journal of Management, 6(3), 318-340. https://doi.org/10.1504/MEJM.2019.098598

  • Peluso D. L., Carleton, R. N., & Asmundson, G. J. G. (2011). Depression symptoms in Canadian psychology graduate students: Do research productivity, funding, and the academic advisory relationship play a role? Canada Journal Behavioural Sciences, 43(2), 119-127. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022624

  • Pool, L., & Qualter, P. (2014). Improving emotional intelligence and emotional self-efficacy through a teaching intervention for university students. Learning and Individual Differences, 22, 306-312. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2012.01.010

  • Rai, D., & Khanal, Y. K. (2017). Emotional intelligence and emotional maturity and their relationship with academic achievement of college students in Sikkim. International Journal of Education and Psychological Research, 6(2), 1-5. https://ijepr.org/paper.php?id=351

  • Ramli, M., Mohd Ariff, F., Nora, M., Rosnani, S., Aidil Faszrul, A., & Musa, R. (2012). Psychometric properties of Bahasa Malaysia version of the Depressive Anxiety and Stress Scales 42-item (DASS-42). Age, 19(20), 21-22.

  • Ruiz-Aranda, D., Extremera, N., & Pineda-Galan, C. (2014). Emotional intelligence, life satisfaction and subjective happiness in female student health professionals: The mediating effect of perceived stress. Journal Psychiatry Mental Health Nurses, 21, 106-113. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpm.12052

  • Saklofske, D. H., Austin, E. J., Rohr, B. A., & Andrews, J. J. (2007). Personality, emotional intelligence and exercise. Journal of Health Psychology, 12(6), 937-948. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105307082458

  • Salami, S. O. (2010). Emotional intelligence, self-efficacy, psychological well-being and students’ attitudes: Implications for quality education. European Journal of Education Studies, 2(3), 247-257.

  • Salguero, J. M., Extremera, N., Cabello, R., & Fernandez-Berrocal, P. (2015). If you have high emotional intelligence (EI), you must trust in your abilities: The interaction effect of ability EI and perceived EI on depression in women. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 33, 46-56. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734282914550384

  • Sánchez-Álvarez, N., Extremera, N., & Fernández-Berrocal, P. (2016). The relation between emotional intelligence and subjective wellbeing: A meta-analytic investigation. Journal Positive Psychology, 11, 276-285. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2015.1058968

  • Scarabottolo, N. (2019). Comparison of students in an undergraduate university degree offered both in presence and online. Interactive Technology and Smart Education, 16(1), 36-48. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITSE-09-2018-0067

  • Schutte, N. S., Malouff, J. M., & Thorsteinsson, E. B. (2013). Increasing emotional intelligence through training: Current status and future directions. The International Journal of Emotional Education, 5(1), 56-72. https://www.um.edu.mt/library/oar//handle/123456789/6150

  • Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2019). Using Multivariate Statistics (7th ed.). Pearson.

  • Vishal, Y., Naveen, Tiwari, T., & Singh, A. L. (2017). Mental health in relation to emotional intelligence among university students. Indian Journal of Health and Wellbeing, 8(10), 1210-1212.

  • Zeidner, M., Matthews, G., & Roberts, R. D. (2012). The emotional intelligence, health, and well-being nexus: What have we learned and what have we missed? Applied Psychology Health Well Being, 4, 1-30. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1758-0854.2011.01062.x

  • Zhang, P., Li, C. Z., Zhao, Y. N., Xing, F. M., Chen, C. X., Tian, X. F., & Tang, Q. Q. (2016). The mediating role of emotional intelligence between negative life events and psychological distress among nursing students: A cross-sectional study. Nurse Education Today, 4, 121-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2016.05.025

ISSN 0128-7702

e-ISSN 2231-8534

Article ID


Download Full Article PDF

Share this article

Recent Articles