Psychology, 2010, 1: 50-58
doi:10.4236/psych.2010.11008 Published Online April 2010 (
Copyright © 2010 SciRes PSYCH
The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Nursing:
An Overview
José María Augusto Landa, Esther López-Zafra
Department of Social Psychology University of Jaén, Jaén, Spain.
Received January 10th, 2010; revised February 3rd, 2010; accepted February 4th, 2010.
In this paper we focus on the role that Emotional Intelligence has on nursing. We pay attention to both students and
professionals and the role emotional intelligence has on emotional self-concept and burnout. Our studies with nursing
students yield positive relations between the Clarity and Em otional Repair components of Perceived Emotional Intelli-
gence and all scales of the self-concept scale. On the other hand, nursing professionals that have clear feelings about
their emotions and situations that occur, and are capable of dealing with those emotions, have lower levels of stress in
their work. Also, those nurses who show a high ability to curtail their negative emotional states and prolong positive
emotional states show higher levels of overall health than those individuals who have trouble regulating their emotions.
Our results imply that the emotional and cognitive dimensions have to be taken into account in future training pro-
grams for nursing professionals an d st udents
Keywords: Emotional Intelligence, Emotional Self-Concept, Burnout, Occupational stressors, Health, Nursing
1. Introduction
The role of emotions in the formation of nursing profes-
sionals has been scarcely studied. However, our results
show that emotions play an important role in a profession
that requires not only technical expertise but also psy-
chologically oriented care, knowledge about the self and
emotions in nursing would be crucial to further deve-
lopment and growth of the profession. Thus, in this paper
we focus both on students that are preparing themselves
to be future nursing professionals and nursing profes-
sionals that face everyday a stressful context where they
2. Nursing Students and the Role of
Emotional Intelligence in the Formation of
Future Professionals
Self-concept is closely associated with the acceptance of
one-self, and that its welfare or its opposite constitutes
two poles in which the self is always present. For a
profession that requires not only technical expertise but
also psychologically oriented care, knowledge about the
self in nursing would be crucial to further development
and growth of the profession [1].
Mayer and Salovey propose the Emotional Intellig ence
(EI) concept [2]. This is a scientific approach that has
received a great deal of empirical support and has a very
well grounded theoretical basis [3]. Emotional intelli-
gence includes a set of skills related to the emotional
processing of information. Specifically, emotional intel-
ligence is defined as the ability to perceive, glean infor-
mation from, and manage one’s own and others’ emo-
tions [2,4]. Emotional intelligence comprises four di-
mensions: 1) Emotional awareness to perceive emotions
adequately, implies the perception of one’s own and
other’s emotions along with the ability to express and
correctly assess our feelings and needs; 2) Ability of
emotions to facilitate think ing, that is, emotions allow us
to address the importan t information , facilitatin g accur ate
partnerships with other sensations, decision-making as
well as the change of perspective; 3) Ability to under-
stand emotions and their meaning: refers to the ability to
analyze the different emotions, to understand the rela-
tionships between them and the different situations that
stem from, in addition to the understanding of complex
emotions and emotional transition from one state to
another; 4) Regulation of emotions to promote emotional
intellectual growth: is the dexterity to regulate the emo-
tions of one-self and other’s in the right way (neither
minimizing nor extending), also refers to the skills to be
open to positive emotional states and negative emotional
states, and they are the only way to understand and im-
The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Nursing: An Overview
Copyright © 2010 SciRes PSYCH
prove thinking.
These four skills are linked, so that an appropriate
emotional regulation needs an adequate emotional com-
prehension and an adequate emotional comprehension
requires an appropriate emotional perception. But the
opposite is not always true. There are subjects with high
capacity of emotional awareness but lack of emotional
understanding and emotional regulation.
Why could emotional intelligence be an important
factor in nursing? Studies have shown that an emotional
intelligent nurse is an individual who can work in har-
mony with his/her thoughts and feelings [5]. The im-
portance of the development of empathy (as an aspect of
emotional competence) appears as a central factor in
many nursing theories [6,7]. Some studies have shown
that emotional intelligence allows nurses to develop
therapeutically relationships to meet patients and their
families and to better manage stress [8,9]. Also, studies
using TMMS have contributed to evidence of the rela-
tionship between its components (Attention, Clarity and
Repair) in several areas of research in the field of nursing.
Clarity and Emotional Repair have been shown as
protectors against stress, burnout and of improved job
satisfaction and health among nurses [10-12]. Furthermore,
Emotional repair has been shown as an emotional predictor
of social support and mental health in nursing students
[13], and nurses with high clarity and emotional repair
show less anxiety when faced with death [14].
Studies that have related self-concept and/or self-esteem
with e mot io n a l i n t e lligence, using T M MS a mo n g u n iv er s i ty
students, have found that PEI was associated with actual
higher levels of happiness, higher levels of previous
happiness, higher levels of positive affect, higher scores
in life satisfaction and high self-esteem [15]. Likewise,
individuals who show high l e vel s of Cl arity and Emotional
regulation show high levels of self-esteem, an important
index of mental health [16]. A study carried out by
Fernández-Berrocal, Alcaide, Extremera & Pizarro [17]
among secondary-school students found that emotional
regulation was positively related to emotional self-esteem
and negatively related to anxiety and depression.
The self is a body of knowledge that people have about
their own characteristics. The sense of continuity and
location of oneself seem to be universal in all cultures
[18]. The self has been described as an attitude that the
subject has about him/herself; this implies that we have
to take into account other elements that allow us to un-
derstand terms associated with the self. The attitude tends
to be composed of three components: cognitive, emo-
tional and behavioural. The cognitive component refers
to the mental representation of the object; the cognitive
component therefore would be the self. The affective or
evaluative component relates to the emotional response
associated with the cognitive component, and therefore
would be self-esteem (the overall assessment that a per-
son makes about him/herself). The behavioural compo-
nent or intention to act has to do with what we think and
feel we would like to do with the object; in this case we
refer to self-behaviour.
From a psychosocial approach of nursing and mental
health, self-concept, self-estee m and personal identity are
essential elements of self-knowledge, a basic requirement
in any profession that is relationally based and that also
emphasizes the importance of self-care as a requirement
for care [19]. Those nurses with a healthy self-concept
influence patient care in a positive direction, and those
nurses with a poor self-concept affect patient care nega-
tively [20]. Several studies carried out in the field of
nursing have suggested that the self has a critical impact
on other important variables such as job satisfaction,
stress, burnout and attribution [21-23].
Furthermore, Arthur and Randle’s [24] study, which
analyzes studies on the self from 1992 to 2006, found
that the self- concept of nursing students was influenced
by the way in which they were handled by professional
nurses in various clinical areas. This hierarchy of having
power over someone or something became an integral
part of their self. Quantitative data found by Roid and
Fitts [25] using the Tennessee Scale of Self-concept
corroborate qualitative findings showing a deterioration
in self-nursing students.
Other studies have related nursing students’ self-concept
behaviour to tobacco consumption and messages about
the consumption of tobacco, showing that individuals
with high self-concept who smoke tend to respond in a
defensive way to anti-tobacco messages [26]. Moreover,
Horneffer [27] found that the dimensions of self-concept
correlated with health behaviours and responses to pro-
mote health information.
From these results it may be deduced that the ability to
manage one’s own emotions and recognize other people’s
is especially useful in the practice of nursing. Therefore,
our studies show that clarity and emotional repair are
positively related to self-concept, although attention to
emotions is negatively related to self-concept. That is,
our results indicate that the management of one’s own
emotions, as well as the ability to regulate the emotional
state, appear to be essential features in the formation of
self-image and are important for these future health
professionals. Both dimensions are closely related. Also,
we compared the results with regard to the PEI construct
and the development of self-concept (high vs. low), and
observed that there are differences between various
dimensions. Specifically, the “high self-concept” group,
that is, people who have a higher degree of knowledge
about themselves, about t heir own capabilities, opportunities,
resources and limitations are those who have a greater
ability to regulate their own emotions and tho se of others.
So, they may also show a greater degree of empathy with
others, and this characteristic must be a priority in the
The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Nursing: An Overview
Copyright © 2010 SciRes PSYCH
field of nursing. Moreover, our results show that the
group labelled as “low self-concept” are those who give a
greater emphasis to internal and emotional states, which
may sometimes be a disadvantage for effective develop-
ment of nursing work. In sum, it would be advisable to
include specific components of Emotional Intellig ence in
the training curriculum of these future professional
nurses, in order to train in the near future competent
professionals in the use and management of emotional
states [28].
Increasingly, our students of nursing and physiotherapy
reach higher education with a serious deficiency in the
skills required during the academic year, the uptake and
implementation of clinical practice, and their in corporation
into the world of work. Moreover, the adaptation of degree
programs to make them suitable for the framework of th e
European Higher Education Area means rethinking these
degrees from a dual perspective. On the one hand, the
EHEA will soon require our students to develop a set of
core competencies in order to be co mpetitive in the labor
market. In addition, teachers are inevitably required to
adapt their programs and contents to the introduction of
these skills both in the curriculum of the students and in
the proposal and performance of training programs that
promote the development of such skills. In some univer-
sities, as for example the University of Málaga (Spain),
students are trained in competencies such as Emotional
Intelligence. Previous studies have performed training
programs of social skills with nursing students [29], but
there are no studies about training other competencies
with these students. Thus, it is essential to create mate-
rials totally adapted to the needs of these students, es-
pecially in their clinical training. Our research team is
deeply involved in creating these materials dealing with
the skills of emotional intelligence in order to enhance
attention to emotions, clarity and emotional repair, to
promote social and emotional support of male and fe-
male future nurses, and to provide training in commu-
nication with non-experts in the field and interpersonal
skills in general.
3. Nursing Professionals and the Impact of
Emotional Intelligence on Burnout
Research into stress at work has found that individuals
who have direct contact with patients, clients, users or
students, develop over a longer or shorter period of time
the so-called Burnout Synd rome. This syndrome refers to
the fact that a professional may be overwhelmed by the
situation they are suffering (in family, social or working
context) and that their capacity for adaptation has been
The concept of Burnout was firstly mentioned by
Herbert Freudenberger [30] to describe the physical and
mental state that he observed among young volunteers
working in a detox clinic. A year later many of them felt
exhausted, were easily irritated, had developed a cynical
attitude towards their patients and tended to avoid them.
Afterwards, Maslach used the term in psychological sci-
ence in 1977 at a convention of the APA [31]. Since then
the term has been used to describe the burnout experi-
enced by workers in human services (education, health,
and public administration). At the present time it is pos-
sibly one of the most used concepts in hospitals, schools
and businesses.
Maslach and Jackson conceptualize burnout as a
tridimensional syndrome that is developed in professionals
whose work targets are people [32]. They add three
characteristic dimensions: 1) Emotional Exhaustion; 2)
Depersonalization and 3) Personal Accomplishment.
Emotional Exhaustion (EE) is characterized by the pro-
gressive tiredness, fatigue or loss of energy that may be
evident in ph ysica l, ment al or combined aspects. I t implies
an exhaustion of energy, the experience of being emo-
tionally exhausted due to daily and continued contact
with individuals whose work deal with (patients, students).
Depersonalization refers to the development of feelings,
attitudes, and negative responses (both distant and cold)
to other people, especially to the beneficiaries of their
work. This depersonalization is followed by an increase
in irritability and a decline in motivation. Workers view
the patients in a dehumanized way, due to affective
hardening, blaming them for their problems (e.g. the pa-
tient deserves the illness, the student the failure, the
prisoner his conviction…). Lack of Personal Accom-
plishment (PA) is manifested by negative answers to
him/her-self and to work. There is a tendency for profes-
sionals to be negatively assessed and this negativity
affects especially their performance at work and the rela-
tionship wit h the peo pl e th ey serve.
While the burnout syndrome arises as a response to
chronic stress at work, it is noteworthy that it is a result
of an ongoing process in which coping strategies, often
used by the subject, fail. Coping strategies serve as me-
diating variables between the perceived stress and its
consequences, and when they fail, the problem continues.
This syndrome can have very negative results for both
the individual who suffers it and for the organization in
which they perform a professional role. For the individual
it may affect their physical and/or mental health, resulting
in psychosomatic disorders (e.g., cardio disorders, head-
aches, gastritis, ulcers, insomnia, dizziness or ev en states
of anxiety, depression, and alcoholism). However, although
all these stressors are general for all nurses, some people
are affected more than others, showing major consequences
of this stress. An individual skill that would help to better
understand why certain subjects are more susceptible to
the negative consequences of stress than others is Emo-
tional Intelligen ce.
Work-related stress leads to a situation of dissatisfaction
that could be one of the causes of demotivation experi-
The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Nursing: An Overview
Copyright © 2010 SciRes PSYCH
enced by health professionals, especially nurses. Nursing
is, by nature, a profession subject to high degrees of
stress, partly due to the specific nature of tasks and those
under their care. If we add the lack of autonomy of these
professionals in their work, the lack of clarity of some
tasks, the high pressure that they face and the lack of
support from superiors, these professionals are a “per-
fect target” for the burnout syndrome in their work. Au-
thors such as Cherniss or Stevens and O’Neil suggest that
nursing professionals have no realistic expectations about
the service they work for and the incongruity between
their expectations and reality influences the stress they
experience [33,34]. Also, Maslach and Jackson indicate
that healthcare professionals are asked to engage inten-
sively with people who usually are in a problematic situa-
tion in which they show feelings such as frustration, fear
and despair. In these cases, the resulting tension can have
an effect of emotional exhaustion and the emotional re-
sponse is not itself a variable of burnout, but the defini-
tion of the phe nomenon [32].
Several studies [35-37] found that nursing professionals
are the group most prone to stress in their work, with the
negative consequences that this entails for their health.
Among the main causes of stress among nurses are con-
tact with suffering and death, conflicts with peers, lack of
preparedness to deal with the emotional needs of patients
and their families, uncertainty about the effectiveness of
treatment, tiredness and fatigue, fear of incurring negli-
gence or inability, and night work.
In Florida, Stechmiller and Yarandi carried out research
at nine hospitals on stress, job satisfaction and burnout
among nurses in charge of more critical care [38]. They
found that the responsibility of the profession, dealing
with other people at work, problems of health, satisfaction
with the amount of work, job security, psychological
resistance and job satisfaction had a significant effect on
emotional exhaustion, which is a component of burnout.
The study by Parker and Kulik found that the levels of
employment support and job stress were significant
factors in predicting burnout [39]. The highest levels of
exhaustion were in close relationship with a poor appraisal
of the work done by the same person or the supervisor,
with a greater number of working days lost due to sick
leave and with a greater number of absences for mental
health reasons. Along the same lines, the study by
Collins examined the relationship between job stress,
resistant personality and burnout in nurses at hospital
[40]. The results they found were that to promote resis-
tance through training programs for nurses could be useful
in dealing with stress and could reduce the burnout that
occurs in the environment of health services [41]. A
study carried out by Avalos Gimenez and Molina using
the Maslach Burnout Inventory found that between 27%
and 39% of the nurses had scores indicative of burnout in
one of the three subscales. Likewise, their results indi-
cated a greater deterioration among the nurses who
worked in in-patient and general services, and lower in
surgical nurses. The study by Albaladejo, Villanueva
Ortega, Anastasio, Calle and Dominguez [42] with 622
nurses found that the majority of participants h ad symptoms
of burnout, and that the most affected wer e young people
with only a few years of service, working in emergency
departments or in oncology. The study conducted by
Augusto-Landa, López-Zafra, Berrios-Martos and Aguilar-
Luzón [ 43 ] using The Nursing Stress Scale with a sample
of nurses showed that the largest occupational stressors
among nurses were workload, death and suffering, fol-
lowed by insufficient training, uncertainty regarding
treatment, problems with hierarchy and lack of support.
Other incidents that in other professions can be more
stressful but that in nursing were minor stressors, were
problems between the nur sing staff, the concern to move
temporarily to other services owing to lack of staff and
not knowing well how to operate and manage specialized
The effects of stress in nursing practice lead to absen-
teeism [44], somatic diseases [45], coronary artery dis-
ease, and alcoholism [9]. With regard to the working
timetable, it is important to note that the constant
changes of time in this work have an influence on bio-
logical rhythms, disrupting the sleep-wake cycle and
pace, and affecting the social relationships of the sub-
ject [46]. We also must take into account the impor-
tance of socio-demographic and labor variables. Some
studies [47] have stressed the relationship between
demographic variables and work with the appearance of
responses to differ en t stresso rs.
Among the demographic variables, some studies
[48-50] found that sing le people o r people with out f amily
responsibilities were more prone to the appearance of
burnout syndrome than people who were married or in
a stable relationship. In terms of labor variables, the
assignment of unit or service, and the possibility of the
worker to choose and to be comfortable in that unit have
been considered one of the most important indicators of
job satisfaction [51].
We now have a large body of research related to work
environments that have analyzed the role of emotional
intelligence related to welfare, health and stress manage-
ment. Ciarrochi, Deane and Anderson found that emotional
intelligence had a moderating role in the relationship
stress-psychological health [52], such that subjects with
high Emotional Intelligence are better predisposed to
cope with environmental demands than subjects with a
low score in this variable.
Emotions play a decisive role an d the ability to reason
about them, and to perceive and understand them may
allow us to develop emotional regulation processes that
would help to moderate the negative effects of stress and
lead to better health [53]. Moreover, as the syndrome of
The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Nursing: An Overview
Copyright © 2010 SciRes PSYCH
Ocupational stressors in Nursing
7% 3% 5% 3%
Death and sufferingOverwork Uncerta inty about tre atment
Problems with the hierarchyInsufficient preparationLack of support
Not knowing how to handle equipmentProblems with colleaguesStaff shorta ge
Source: Adapted from Augusto-Landa, López-Zafra, Berrios-Martos & Aguilar-Luzón (2008)
Figure 1. Percentage of occupational stressors in a nursing sample
burnout stems from social interaction between those who
offer their services and those who receive them, the
proper management of the emotions arising from such
interactions is a key factor in explaining why some indi-
viduals are more resistant to appear ance of the syndrome
than others. This approach has led to the fact that, in the
prevention and treatment of burnout, acquires special
relevance the concept of emotional intelligence as pre-
dictor of quality that can predict success in setbacks that
may arise in such professions. From this, we can deduce
that a nurse is an emotionally intelligent person who can
work in harmony with their thoughts and feelings [5].
The importance of the development of empathy (as an
aspect of emotional competence) appears as a central
factor in many nursing theories [6,7]. A recent study
performed by Aguilar-Luzón and Augusto La nd a in ve s-
tigated the relationship of the PEI and personality
traits as predictors of empathy in nursing students, and
found that emotional attention and repair were predictors
of involvement empathy (one dimension of the IRI) [54].
Specifically, high scores in emotional repair predict the
tendency of individuals to experience feelings of com-
passion and concern for others, that is, the
meta-cognition of their emotions would act as a basis in
the understanding of the emotions of others. Thus, it is
possible for people with a good understanding of their
emotions to extrapolate this ability to the interpersonal
field. In this sense, people who give excessive attention
to their emotions would perform the same process when
it comes to addressing the feelings of others. This would
explain the positive relationships between their own and
others’ emotional attention.
Other studies have shown that emotional intelligence
allows nurses to develop therapeutic relationships to deal
with patients and their families and to better manage
stress [8,55]. The results of the studies presented lead us
to believe that emotional intelligence is positi vely associated
with health and negatively with stress. Thus, Limonero,
Tomás-Sábato, Fernández-Castro and Gómez-Benito ana-
lyzed the relationship between the stress suffered by
nursing professionals and the TMMS [56]. Their results
showed that stress correlated negatively with Clarity and
Emotional repair. That is, nursing professionals that are
clear about the emotions they are feeling and the situa-
tions that provoke them, are able to regulate these emo-
tions and have lower levels of stress in their work. Along
the same lines, the study carried out by Augusto-Landa,
Berrios-Martos, López-Zafra and Aguilar-Luzón analyzed
the predictive ability of PEI and positive and negative
affects to explain levels of burnout and mental health in
nurses [10]. Thus, attention to emotions accounted for
part of the variance of the components of burnout (emo-
tional exhaustion and depersonalization), while low at-
tention and high clarity and emotional regulation of emo-
tions accounted for part of the variance of a component
of the burnout called personal fulfillment. In fact, the
subjects with low attention and high emotional clarity and
emotional regulation reported greater personal fulfillment.
With regard to mental health, the scales of positive and
negative affect (Bradburn’s scale of positive and negative
affect) accounted for part of the variance in mental health.
This can be explained by the po sitive association of po si-
tive affect with social contacts and extraversion, whereas
negative affect is associated with interpersonal problems,
The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Nursing: An Overview
Copyright © 2010 SciRes PSYCH
anxiety and neuroticism. Regarding the components of
PEI, we found that an adequate attention to feelings, high
clarity and emotional regulation are predictors of good
mental health. A more thorough examination of the hier-
archical regression analysis conducted on the criterion
variable revealed that PEI in fluenced burnou t in different
ways. Firstly, a direct influence was found in the percentage
of variance accounted for by each dimension (emotional
exhaustion: 9%; depersonalization: 10% personal ful-
fillment: 41%), but there was also an indirect influence
through the scale of affect, as the analysis showed that
PEI factors influence the tendency to suppress negative
affect and enhance positive affect, and in turn this trend
accounts for part of the variance of the dimensions of
burnout. We also note that the probability of burnout is
lower in subjects who score high in emotional clarity or
comprehension and emotional repair.
Along the same lines, but with nursing students, the
study performed by Montes-Berges and Augusto-Landa
analyzed the role of PEI in relation to social support,
coping strategies and mental health [13]. The results
showed that clarity and emotional regulation were outlined
as predictors of social support of the subjects, and emotional
regulation also appeared as the only predictor of mental
health. These studies are consistent with the findings of
Tsaousis and Nikolaou who found that high levels of
emotional intelligence were good predictors of physical
and psychological health [57 ].
Similarly, the study carried out by Augusto-Landa et al.
analyzed the role that PEI has on occupational stress
(measured by the Nursing Stress Scale) and health
(measured by the SF-36 questionnaire) in nursing profe-
ssionals [43]. Their results showed that those nursing
professionals with high clarity and emotional regulation
reported lower levels of stress, but those with high
emotional attention reported higher levels of stress.
Emotional regulation is shown as an important variable
in the dimensions of health measures through the health
questionnaire SF-36. Individuals with high emotional
regulation showed better levels of health in its various
dimensions than those subjects with low emotional regu-
Similar results have been found in nursing students by
Augusto-Landa and Montes-Berges [58], showing that
emotional regulation appeared as the main predictor of
the variance in different dimensions of the health ques-
tionnaire SF-36 (Vitality, Mental Health, Social Func-
tioning and General Health) and so matic symptoms. Data
from the above-mentioned studies suggest that emotional
intelligence could be a personal ability of nursing staff
that leads to a better perception of subjective well-being,
self-efficacy and self-evaluation at work and helps to
maintain high levels of dedication to work. Thus, a recent
study by Augusto-Landa & Montes-Berges analyzed the
role of PEI on the quality of life and dimensions of psy-
chological well-being in a sample of 85 nurses [59].
Analysis of variance results showed that emotional regu-
lation (high vs. low) had an effect on life satisfaction and
psychological well-being, confirming the importance of
this factor in quality of life and the dimensions of psy-
chological well-being. These data allow us to extend and
corroborate those found in this type of samples.
4. Conclusions
In summary, we show the role that emotional in telligen ce
has as a modulator variable of stress and as an important
variable in nurses’ health. We have analyzed the differ-
ential role played by the three components (Attention,
Clarity and regulation) of PEI. In general, the characte-
ristic pattern is that people with higher levels of psycho-
logical adaptation and lower levels of stress and burnout
are those characterized by moderate to low scores in
emotional attention and high scores in the other two
dimensions of TMMS (emotional Clarity and Repair). It
is important to summarize the importance of the dimen-
sions of TMMS and their role in individual well-being as
well as its influence on the different criteria that we h ave
discussed throughout the chapter. Emotional attention is
a dimension whose ends are usually characterized by
emotional imbalance. Individuals who usually pay attention
to emotions are characterized by monitoring at all times
the progress of their moods in an effort to try to under-
stand, which is not always productive to the subject, es-
pecially when this high level of attention is not accom-
panied by the discrimination of the causes, reasons and
consequences. The real danger for these people is that
they could develop an emotional spiral that leads to a
ruminative process outside their control, rather than alle-
viating their mood, and this would perpetuate a negative
state of mood.
This hypothesis endorses the findings that show that
high emotional attention is asso ciated with high levels of
stress, lower job satisfaction and low self-concept in
nursing professionals [10,42]. In terms of the clarity fac-
tor, the evidence shows th at individuals who easily iden-
tify their specific emotions during stressful situations
spend less time dealing with their emotional reactions . In
addition, they invest fewer cognitive resources, which
allow them to evaluate alternatives for action, to keep
their thoughts on other tasks or to perform more adaptive
coping strategies. In fact, high scores in emotional clarity
were associated with different dimensions of overall
health and greater adaptation to stressful situations at
work [10,43], greater life satisfaction [59] and positive
coping strategies [13].
Finally, emotional regulation emerges as the main pre-
dictor of health in nursing professionals, so that those
who are able to regulate their emotional states (interrupt
negative emotional states and prolong positive ones)
show higher levels of health. Catanzaro and Mearns de-
The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Nursing: An Overview
Copyright © 2010 SciRes PSYCH
monstrated the importance of expectations in capacity to
regulate emotional and protective factors in our mental
health and wellbeing [60].
The findings provided by research involve a range of
evidence about cogn itive and emotional factors related to
the occurrence of burnout and emotional imbalance that
must be taken into account in future training programs
aimed at the prevention and monitoring of work stress
both in students and nurses.
For all these reasons, we think that the training of
emotional intelligence in professionals, not only in nurs-
ing professionals but also in nursing students, is neces-
sary to prevent occupational stress and its impact on
health. In current Higher education, which emphasizes a
high profile development of interpersonal skills, training
in the dimension of emotional intelligence is essential.
[1] L. Cowin, “Measuring Nurses’ Self-Concept,” Western
Journal of Nursing Research, Vol. 23, No. 3, 2001, pp.
[2] J. D. Mayer, P. Salovey and D. Caruso, “Models of Emo-
tional Intelligence,” Second Edition, In: Sternberg, R.J.
Ed., Handbook of Intelligence, Cambridge, New York,
2000, pp. 396-420.
[3] J. D. Mayer and P. Salovey, “Qué es la Inteligencia
Emocional?” In: Mestre, J.M., Navas and Fernández-
Berrocal, P. (Coords.), Manual de Inteligencia Emocional,
Pirámide, Madrid, 2007, pp. 25-45.
[4] P. Salovey, J. D. Mayer, S. Goldman, C. Turvey and T.
Palfai, “Emotional Attention, Clarity and Repair: Explor-
ing Emotional Intelligence Using the Trait Meta-Mood
Scale,” In: Pennebaker, J.W. Ed., Emotion, Disclosure
and Health, American Psychological Association, Wash-
ington, D.C., 1995, pp. 125-154.
[5] D. Freshwater and T. Stickley, “The Heart of the Art:
Emotional Intelligence and Nursering Education,”
Nursering Inquiry, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2004, pp. 91-98.
[6] M. Parker, “Aesthet ic Ways in Day to Day Nursering,” In:
Freshwater, D. Ed., Therapeutic Nursering, Sage, London,
2002, pp. 100-120.
[7] P. A. Parker and J. A. Kulik, “Burnout, Self a Supervi-
sor-Rated Job Performance and Absenteeism among
Nurses,” Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Vol. 18, No. 6,
1995, pp. 581-599.
[8] C. Cadman and J. Brewer, “Emotional Intelligence: A
Vital Prerequisite for Recruitment in Nursering,” Journal
of Nursering Management, Vol. 9, 2001, pp. 321-324.
[9] A. M. Calvalheiro, D. F. Moura Junior and A. C. Lopes,
“Stress in Nurses Working in Intensive Care Units,” Re-
vista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem, Vol. 16, No. 1,
2008, pp. 29-35.
[10] J. M. Augusto-Landa, M. P. Berrios-Martos, E.
López-Zafra and M. C. Aguilar-Luzón, “Relación Entre
Burnout e Inteligencia Emocional y su Impacto en Salud
Mental, Bienestar y Satisfacción Laboral en Profesionales
de Enfermería,” Ansiedad y Estrés, Vol. 12, 2006, pp.
[11] J. M. Augusto-Landa, E. López-Zafra, M. P. Berrios-
Martos and M. C. Aguilar-Luzón, “The Relationship Be-
tween Emotional Intelligence, Occupational Stress and
Health in Nurses: A Questionnaire Survey,” International
Journal of Nursing Studies, Vol. 45, 2008, pp. 888-901.
[12] E. Lindop, “A Comparative Study of Stress between Pre
and Post Project 2000 Students,” Journal of Advanced
Nursing, Vol. 29, 1999, pp. 967-973.
[13] S. Moore, S. Lindquist and B. Katz, “Home Health
Nurses: Stress, Self-Esteem, Social Intimacy and Job Sat-
isfaction,” Home Care Provider, Vol. 2, 1997, pp. 135-
[14] A. Aradilla, J. Tomas-Sabato and J. Limonero, “Emo-
tional Intelligence and Death Anxiety in Nursing Stu-
dents,” Abstracts Book of I International Congress on
Emotional Intelligence, Malaga, September 19-20, 2007,
pp. 19-21.
[15] D. Goleman, “Emotional Intelligence,” New York:
Bantam, 1995.
[16] J. Sanz, F. Silva and M. D. Avia, “La Evaluación de
Personalidad Desde el Modelo de Los, Cinco Grandes: El
Inventario de Cinco—Factores NEO (NEO-FFI) de Costa
y McGrae,” In Silva, F.F., Avances en Evaluación
Psicológica, Promolibro, Valencia, 1999, pp. 169-235.
[17] P. Fernández-Berrocal, R. Alcaide, N. Extremera and D.
A. Pizarro “The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Anxi-
ety and Depression among Adolescents,” Individual Dif-
ferences Research, Vol. 4, 2006, pp. 16-27.
[18] B. Montes-Berges and J. M. Augusto, “Exploring the
Relationship Between Perceived Emotional Intelligence,
Coping, Social Support a Mental Health in Nursing Stu-
dents,” Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing,
Vol. 14, 2007, pp. 163-171.
[19] A. Komblit and Mendes-Diz, “El Burnout en el Personal
de Enfermería de Unidades de Cuidados Intensivos,”
Estudios del Trabajo, Vol. 16, 1998, pp. 1- 25.
[20] E. P. Anderson, “The Perceptions of Student Nurses and
Their Perceptions of Professional Nursing during their
Nurse Training Programme,” Journal of Advanced Nurs-
ing, Vol. 18, No. 5, 1993, pp. 808-815.
[21] S. H. Hamaideh, M. T. Mrayyan, R. Mudallal, G. I.
Faouri and N. A. Khasawneh, “Jordanian Nurses’ job
Stressors and Social Support,” International Nursing Re-
view, Vol. 55, No. 1, 2008, pp. 40-47.
[22] K. Horneffer, “Students’ Self-Concepts: Implications for
Promoting Self-Care within the Nursing Curriculum,”
Journal of Nursing Education, Vol. 45, No. 8, 2006, pp.
[23] M. Newman, “Health as Expanding Consciousness,”
Jones and Bartlett, Boston 1994.
[24] D. Arthur and J. Randle, “The Professional Self-Concept
of Nurses: A Review of Literature form 1992-2006,”
Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 24, No. 3,
2007, pp. 60-64.
The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Nursing: An Overview
Copyright © 2010 SciRes PSYCH
[25] P. y Salovey and J. D. Mayer, “Emotional Intelligence,”
Imagination, Cognition and Personality, Vol. 9, 1990, pp.
[26] M. A. Freeman, E. V. Hennessy and D. M. Marzullo,
“Defensive Evaluation of Antismoking Messages among
College-Age Smokers: The Role of Possible Selves,”
Health Psychology, Vol. 20, 2001, pp. 424-433.
[27] N.Humpel and P. Caputi, “Exploring the Relationship
between Work Stress, Years of Experience and Emotional
Competency Using a Simple of Australian Mental Health
Nurses,” Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurs-
ing, Vol. 8, 2001, pp. 39-403.
[28] J. M. Augusto-Landa, M. C. Aguilar, M. F. Salguero and
E. López-Zafra, “El Papel de la Inteligencia Emocional
Percibida Sobre la Autoeficacia General y Competencia
Percibida,” In P. Fernández-Berrocal (coord.), Avances en
el Estudio de la Inteligencia Emocional, Fundación
Marcelino Botín, Santander, 2009, pp. 18-189.
[29] C. Maslach, “Burned-Out,” Human Behavior, Vol. 5, No.
9, 1976, pp. 16-22.
[30] J. Garanto, “Las Actitudes Hacia sí Mismo y su Medi-
ción,” EU, Temas de Psicolog ía nº 7, Barcelona, 1984.
[31] C. Maslach and S. E. Jackson, “The Measurement of
Experienced Burnout,” Journal of Occupational Behavior,
Vol. 2, 1981, pp. 99-113.
[32] J. D. y Mayer and P. Salovey, “What is Emotional Intel-
ligence?” In Salovey, P., Sluyter, y D., Eds., “Emotional
Development and Emotional Intelligence: Implications
for Educators, Basic Books, New York, 1997, pp. 3-31.
[33] C. Cherniss, “Profesional Burnout in Human Service
Organizations,” Praeger Publishers, New York, 1980.
[34] J. F. Thayer, L. A. Rossy, E. Ruiz-Padial and B. H. John-
sen, “Gender Differences in the Relaionship between
Emocional Regulation and Depressive Symptons,” Cog-
nitive Therapy and Research, Vol. 27, 2003, pp. 349-364.
[35] S. Cottrell, “Occupational Stress and Job Satisfaction in
Mental Health Nursering: Focused Interventions through
Evidence Based Assessment,” Journal of Psychiatric and
Mental Health Nursering, Vol. 8, 2001, pp. 157-164.
[36] E. Demeuroti, A. D. Brakker and W. B. Schauferi, “A
Model of Burnout and Life Satisfaction amongst Nurses,”
Journal Advanced Nursing, Vol. 32, No. 2, 2000, pp.
[37] R. Kalish, “La Vejez: Perspectivas Sobre el Desarrollo
Humano,” Pirámide, Madrid, 1983.
[38] G. Stevens and P. O’Neill, “Expectation and Burnout in
the Developmental Disabilities Field,” American Journal
of Community Psychology, Vol. 11, 1983, pp. 615-627.
[39] H. Peplau, “Interpersonal Relations in Nursering,” Mac-
millan, London, 1992.
[40] M. A. Collins, “The Relations of Work Stress, Hardiness
and Burnout among Full-Time Hospital Staff Nurses,”
Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, Vol. 12 No. 2,
1996, pp. 71-75.
[41] F. Avalos, I. Giménez and J. M. Molina, “Burnout en
Enfermería de Atención Hospitalaria,” Enfermería Clíni-
ca, Vol. 15, No. 5, 2005, pp. 275-282.
[42] R. Albaladejo, R. Villanueva, P. Ortega, P. Astasio, M. E.
Cale and V. Domínguez, “Burnout Sindrome among
Nursing Staff at a Hospital in Madrid,” Revista Española
de Salud Pública, Vol. 78, 2004, pp. 505-516.
[43] J. M. Augusto-Landa, E. López-Zafra, M. C. Aguilar-
Luzón and M. F. Salguero de Ugarte, “Predictive Validity
of Perceived Emotional Intelligence on Nursing Students’
Self-Concept,” Nurse Education Today, Vol. 29, 2009, pp.
[44] R. C. Wylie, “The Self-Concept, Vol. II: Theory and Re-
search on Selected Topics,” University of Nebraska Press,
London, 1979.
[45] S. J. Marchago, “Programa de Actividades Para el
Desarrollo de la Autoestima,” Escuela Española, Madrid,
Vol. 2, 1997.
[46] D. F. Polit and B. P. Hungler, “Investigación Científica
en Ciencias de la Salud: Principios y Métodos,”
Edicción, McGraw-Hill Interamericana, México, 2000.
[47] S. Harter, “Issues in the Assessment of the Self-Concept
of Children and Adolescents,” In Greca, A.M. Ed.,
Through the Eyes of the Child: Obtaining Self-Reports
from Children and Adolescents, Allyn and Bacon, Boston,
1990, pp. 292-325.
[48] M. M. Durán, A. Rodríguez and L. Fernández, “Pre-
valencia del Síndrome del Quemado y Estudio de Fac-
tores Relacionados en las Enfermeras del CHUVI (Com-
plexo Hospitalario Universitario de Vigo),” Enfermeria
Global, Vol. 8, 2006, pp. 1-18.
[49] C. Maslach and S. E. Jackson, “Burnout Research in the
Social Services: A Critique,” Journal of Social Service
Research, Vol. 10, 1986, pp. 95-105.
[50] R. L. Simpson and A. J. Keegan, “How Connected are
You? Employing Emotional Intelligence in a High Tech
World,” Nursering Administration Quaterly, Vol. 26, No.
2, 2002, pp. 80-86.
[51] Y. M. Chen, S. H. Chen, C. Y. Tsai and L. Y. Lo, “Role
Stress and Job Satisfaction for Nurse Specialists,” Jour-
nal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 59, No. 5, 2007, pp. 497-
[52] J. Ciarrochi, F. Deane and S. Anderson, “Emotional Intel-
ligence Moderates the Relationship between Stress and
Mental Health,” Personality and Individual Differences,
Vol. 28, 2002, pp. 539-561.
[53] N. Extremera, P. Fernández-Berrocal, and A. Duran,
“Emotional Intelligence and Burnout in Teachers,” Encu-
entros en Psicología Social, Vol. 1, 2003, pp. 260-265.
[54] M. C. Aguilar-Luzón and J. M. Augusto-Landa, “Rela-
ción Entre Inteligencia Emocional Percibida, Personali-
dad y Capacidad Empática en Estudiantes de Enferme-
ría,” Psicología Conductual, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2009, pp.
[55] J. K. Stechmiller and H. N. Yarandi, “Predictors of Burn-
out in Critical Care Nurses,” Heart-Ling, Vol. 22, No. 6,
1993, pp. 534-541.
[56] E. Lindop, “A Comparative Study of Stress between Pre
and Post Project 2000 Students,” Journal of Advanced
The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Nursing: An Overview
Copyright © 2010 SciRes PSYCH
Nursing, Vol. 29, 1999, pp. 967-973.
[57] H. H. Wheeler and R. Riding, “Occupational Stress in
General Nurses and Midwives,” British Journal of Nurs-
ing, Vol. 3, No. 52, 1994.
[58] J. M. Augusto-Landa and B. Montes-Berges, “Perceived
Emotional Intelligence, Health and Somatic Sympto-
matology in Nursing Students,” Individual Differences
Research, 2008, pp. 197-211.
[59] J. M. Augusto-Landa and B. Montes-Berges, (submitted)
“Inteligencia Emocional Percibida e Intensidad Afectiva
Como Predictores de la Satisfacción Vital y el Bienestar
Psicológico,” Un Estudio con Profesionales de Enfermería.
[60] S. J. Catanzaro and J. Mearns, “Measuring General Ex-
pectancies for Negative Mood Regulation: Initial Scale
Development and Implications,” Journal of Personality
Assessment, Vol. 54, 1990, pp. 546-563.