Walking in each other’s shoes: Perspective taking mediates effects of emotional intelligence on relationship quality (EJP Special Issue on Personality and Social Relationships) (01.02.2011)

Schröder-Abé, M. & Schütz, A. (in press). Walking in each other’s shoes: Perspective taking mediates effects of emotional intelligence on relationship quality. European Journal of Personality.

Abstract: Although theorists have repeatedly emphasized that emotional intelligence should be linked to relationship quality, little empirical research has systematically examined emotional intelligence in romantic relationships using appropriate dyadic designs and analyses. The present research investigated the relationship between emotional intelligence and aspects of relationship quality (satisfaction, closeness, and commitment). Study 1 was conducted online with 191 heterosexual couples. We found that a person’s perceptions of relationship quality were predicted not only by that person’s emotional intelligence, but also by the relationship partner’s emotional intelligence. In Study 2, these positive actor and partner effects of emotional intelligence on relationship satisfaction and closeness were replicated in a sample of 80 couples in the laboratory. In this context, couples engaged in a conflict discussion, and perspective taking of the partners was rated by the experimenter. Actor Partner Interdependence Mediation Models showed that perspective taking mediated the effects of emotional intelligence on relationship quality. The present research confirmed the link between emotional intelligence and relationship quality and sheds light on the processes through which emotional intelligence affects the quality of romantic relationships.