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The relationship between stress and emotional intelligence among direct-care workers

Dissertation
Author: Keesha L. Karriem
Abstract:
The purpose of this quantitative correlational research study was to determine the extent of association between stress and emotional intelligence among direct-care workers who assist adults with developmental disabilities in the Illinois area. The final sample consisted of 117 direct-care workers who assist adults with developmental disabilities in groups homes located in the southern suburbs of Illinois. Important positive relationships existed between stress and emotional intelligence, which revealed that direct-care workers with high stress levels have lower levels of emotional intelligence, and direct-care workers with low levels of stress have higher levels of emotional intelligence. The data findings also revealed that general mood is a substantial predictor of direct-care workers' stress. The recommendations that materialized from the study could be important to leaders, scholars, and future research.

TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES ..................................................................................................... x CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION .............................................................................. 1 Background of the Problem ....................................................................................... 2 Statement of the Problem ........................................................................................... 5 Purpose of the Study .................................................................................................. 6 Significance of the Study ........................................................................................... 7 Significance of the Study .................................................................................... 7 Significance of the Study to Leadership ............................................................. 7 Nature of the Study .................................................................................................... 8 Research Questions .................................................................................................. 10 Hypotheses ............................................................................................................... 11 Theoretical Framework ............................................................................................ 12 Stress ................................................................................................................. 12 Emotional Intelligence ...................................................................................... 13 Definitions of Terms ................................................................................................ 15 Assumptions ............................................................................................................. 16 Limitations ............................................................................................................... 16 Delimitations ............................................................................................................ 17 Summary .................................................................................................................. 17 CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE .................................................. 19 Documentation ......................................................................................................... 19 Overview of Adults With Developmental Disabilities in Group Homes ................ 20

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Historical Overview of Stress .................................................................................. 23

Occupational Stress .................................................................................................. 26 Current Findings on Direct-Care Worker Stress ...................................................... 31 Historical Overview of Emotional Intelligence ....................................................... 35 EI Measurements ..................................................................................................... 37 Current Findings on Emotional Intelligence and Stress .......................................... 40 Conclusion ............................................................................................................... 42 Summary .................................................................................................................. 43 CHAPTER 3: METHOD ......................................................................................... 46 Research Method and Design Appropriateness ....................................................... 46 Population and Sampling ......................................................................................... 49 Informed Consent..................................................................................................... 50 Confidentiality ......................................................................................................... 52 Geographic Location ................................................................................................ 52 Data Collection ........................................................................................................ 53 Instrumentation ........................................................................................................ 54 Reliability and Validity ............................................................................................ 55 Job Stress Survey (JSS) Reliability and Validity ............................................. 56 Bar-On Emotional Quotient (EQ-i:S) Reliability and Validity ........................ 57 Data Analysis ........................................................................................................... 58 Summary .................................................................................................................. 60 CHAPTER 4: RESULTS ......................................................................................... 62 Population and Sample Participation ....................................................................... 62

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Descriptive Demographic Findings ......................................................................... 63

Inferential Analysis .................................................................................................. 64 Instrumentation ................................................................................................. 64 Assumptions for Data Analysis ........................................................................ 66 Reliability ......................................................................................................... 68 Hypothesis Testing................................................................................................... 69 Hypothesis 1 ..................................................................................................... 69 Conclusion Related to Hypothesis 1 ................................................................. 71 Hypothesis 2 ..................................................................................................... 71 Conclusion Related to Hypothesis 2 ................................................................. 73 Summary .................................................................................................................. 73 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ........................... 75 Summary of the Findings ......................................................................................... 75 Findings and Interpretations .................................................................................... 76 Theoretical Framework ............................................................................................ 80 Relationship to Other Research ............................................................................... 80 Significance of the Study to Leadership .................................................................. 85 Study Strengths and Limitations .............................................................................. 88 Recommendations for Future Research ................................................................... 91 Conclusion ............................................................................................................... 93 REFERENCES ........................................................................................................ 96 APPENDIX A: PERMISSION TO USE PREMISES: KDS, INC. ....................... 112 APPENDIX B: PERMISSION TO USE PREMISES: PROGRESSIVE INC. ..... 114

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APPENDIX C: PERMISSION TO USE PREMISES: FIRST LIFE BEHAVIOR116

APPENDIX D: LETTER OF INTRODUCTION.................................................. 118 APPENDIX E: INFORMED CONSENT: PARTICIPANTS 18 YEARS OR OLDER .................................................................................................................. 120 APPENDIX F: PERMISSION TO USE AN EXISTING SURVEY: JSS ............ 123 APPENDIX G: PERMISSION TO USE AN EXISTING SURVEY: EQ-i:S ....... 125

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LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Database Search Statistics

.......................................................................... 21 Table 2 Frequency Statistics for Demographic Study Variables (N = 117)

............ 64 Table 3 Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory–Variable Constructs and Short Response Items

......................................................................................................... 65 Table 4 Latent Variable Constructs Used for Inferential Analysis to Survey Instrument (N =117)

................................................................................................ 68 Table 5 The Pearson Product–Moment Correlation Coefficients for Variable Constructs on the Five Subscales of Total EQ Score

.............................................. 70 Table 6 Multiple Regression Results for Job Stress Severity Regressed on the Five Subscales of Total EQ Score (N = 117)

........................................................... 72

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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION The lack of direct-care workers (DCW) who assist with the care of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities has become a serious problem in the United States. Providers, families, and support groups are aware of the serious shortage of DCWs and expect the crisis to worsen (Smith & Baughman, 2007). The shortage of DCWs might lead to a lack of quality of care for the individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. According to Harris-Kojetin, Lipson, Fielding, Kiefer, and Stone (2004), millions of individuals with developmental disabilities in the United States could suffer the consequences of not receiving quality care due to a lack of DCWs. Stress might be one of the reasons for the shortage of DCWs who work with individuals with developmental disabilities. Skirrow and Hatton (2007) noted that psychological stress is a challenge among those who work with adults who have developmental disabilities. Finding ways to reduce stress among DCWs might lessen the shortage of available workers. Hastings, Horne, and Mitchell (2004) indicated that occupational stress is one of the reasons DCWs who work with adults with developmental disabilities are leaving the workforce. Emotional intelligence (EI) might help DCWs overcome work-related stress, retain staff, and thus alleviate the DCW shortage. According to Richards and Pryce (2006), EI is linked to reducing stress, improving performance, and reducing turnover. Goleman (1998) defined EI as the “capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships” (p. 317). Direct-care workers who experience stress might find EI helpful and remain working in the field of direct care for individuals with developmental

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disabilities. Ramos, Fernandez-Berrocal, and Extremera (2007) posited individuals who possess EI have the capability to manage their emotions during stressful events. The focus of the current quantitative correlational research study was to examine the extent of the relationship between stress and EI among DCWs who assist adults with developmental disabilities in the Illinois area. Chapter 1 includes the background of the problem, problem statement, purpose of the study, significance of the problem, and nature of the study. The chapter addresses the research methodology, the theoretical framework of stress and intelligence theories, definitions of terms, assumptions, limitations, and delimitations associated with the study. Background of the Problem Significant societal dynamics are converging that will result in a 21st-century direct-care workforce crisis, or “care gap” (Harris-Kojetin et al., 2004, p. 2) in the United States. The dynamics include a decrease of DCWs to care for persons with developmental disabilities. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS; 2006) announced a major shortage of DCWs who support persons with developmental disabilities. According to Glasberg, Norberg, and Söderberg (2007), direct-care work with adults with developmental disabilities involves a considerable amount of physical and emotional demands. Staff at the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (2009) noted a developmental or an intellectual disability manifests before the age of 18. Various physical and genetic factors that limit everyday social skills, adaptive behavior, and life activities cause the disability. Adults with developmental disabilities depend on DCWs for quality care and might become negatively affected by the shortage of DCWs.

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Hastings et al. (2004) noted the lack of those who care for individuals with developmental disabilities had become a large health-care crisis and would affect numerous individuals who depend on DCWs’ services. Direct-care workers are responsible for cooking, cleaning, and assisting with the general physical and medical needs of people with disabilities (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2004). Stress-related health problems might be one of the reasons DCWs are leaving the field of direct care for individuals with developmental disabilities. Marine, Ruotsalainen, Serra, and Verbeek (2006) purported that workers who suffer from job stress in health care could develop severe physical and mental problems related to health. Direct-care workers could be experiencing severe stresses due to heavy workloads and low wages. According to HHS (2006), lack of benefits, heavy workloads, and low wages are causes of stress and dissatisfaction among health-care aides. The ability to cope with such stress might lead DCWs to remain working in health-care organizations, which might decrease turnover and improve productivity. Stress in the workplace has been associated with increased tension, increased intention to leave, decreased job satisfaction, and decreased organizational commitment (Monsen & Boss, 2009). Direct- care workers who are not preoccupied with stress might also perform better in their jobs. Gilboa, Shirom, Fried, and Cooper (2008) purported that stress in the workplace is linked to job performance and turnover. Emotional intelligence is “the ability to (a) perceive emotion, (b) use emotion to facilitate thought, (c) understand emotions and (d) manage emotion” (Mayer & Salovey, 1993, p. 48). Emotional intelligence might reduce stress among DCWs who assist persons with developmental disabilities. Studies on EI have revealed that individuals who

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have high levels of EI possess the capability to manage and understand their emotions during and after stressful events (Ramos et al., 2007). DCWs with high levels of emotional intelligence might help direct-care staff cope with stress and thus ease the shortage. Ogińska-Bulik (2005) revealed that reducing stress among DCWs might lead to increased productivity, less turnover, better client care, and improved overall employee well-being. Ogińska-Bulik’s finding indicates that DCWs who are able to manage stress better might be less inclined to leave their jobs. The lack of DCWs for individuals with developmental disabilities has become a crisis affecting individuals, families, and providers who are struggling to meet the needs of those in long-term care facilities (Smith & Baughman, 2007). As noted above, DCWs who assist those with developmental disabilities might be leaving the workforce due to stress, which is a major cause of turnover among DCWs (Hastings et al., 2004). The ability to manage emotions might help to alleviate DCW stress and increase employee happiness. Research studies have shown that EI has an association with decreasing stress and improving well-being (Richards & Pryce, 2006). A need exists to investigate the extent of the relationship between stress and EI among DCWs. The significant social and theoretical concerns associated with stress, EI, and health care are clear in the literature, but are an understudied aspect among DCWs who work with adults with developmental disabilities in the United States (Gerits, Derksen, Verbruggen, & Katzko, 2005; Harris-Kojetin et al., 2004; Ogińska-Bulik, 2005). The current quantitative correlational research study served to close the gap and expand the limited knowledge in this area by exploring the extent of the correlation between stress

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and EI levels among DCWs who work with adults with developmental disabilities in group homes. Statement of the Problem There is a serious shortage of direct-care staff in hospitals and long-term care settings (Smith & Baughman, 2007). Finding workers to decrease the shortage might be a challenge for providers. According to staff at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2004), 780,000 additional aides will be needed by 2010 to fill direct-care positions. DCWs who assist adults with developmental disabilities are leaving organizations due to stress (Hastings et al., 2004). The specific problem in the current study was to identify any possible relationship between EI and stress and how that may be related to a shortage of DCWs. By 2020, the demand for DCWs to provide care for individuals with disabilities will increase by approximately 323,000 jobs, or nearly 37% (Harris-Kojetin et al., 2004). The demand for DCWs for individuals with developmental disabilities indicates that the number of DCWs will decrease while the demand for direct-care staff will continue to grow. The impact of not having enough DCWs to assist those with developmental disabilities could adversely affect consumers, providers, and DCWs (Dawson & Surpin, 2001). Consumers might receive inadequate and unsafe care. Health-care organizations might continue to experience high turnover, which could result in more recruitment and retention costs. Direct-care workers are leaving organizations due to stress caused by low wages, inadequate benefits, and heavy workloads (Hastings et al., 2004). Researchers have found that individuals who achieve high levels of EI on survey instruments can manage and

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understand their emotions during and after stressful events (Ramos et al., 2007; Tsaousis & Nikolaou, 2005; Van Rooy & Visweswaran, 2004). Such findings indicate that DCWs with higher levels of EI could have lower levels of stress. According to AbuAlRub (2004), employees who rated higher on various EI measurements had lower stress levels. Stress in the workplace is linked to employee well-being, job performance, and turnover (Gilboa et al., 2008). Richards and Pryce (2006) reported that EI is linked to improving work performance and reducing stress. The goal of the current study was to gather information on job stress and EI levels among DCWs to determine if an association exists between the two variables. Purpose of the Study The purpose of the quantitative correlational research study was to determine the extent of the relationship between stress and EI among DCWs who assist adults with developmental disabilities in the Illinois area. The study involved a quantitative correlational analysis design to examine potential relationships among variables (Bernard, 2006; Cooper & Schindler, 2005; Creswell, 2005; B. Johnson & Christensen, 2007; Neuman, 2006). According to Creswell (2005), correlational designs are “procedures in quantitative research in which investigators measure the degree of association or relationship between two or more variables using statistical procedures” (p. 52). The quantitative correlational study involved surveying DCWs who assist adults with developmental disabilities in the Illinois area. In addition to correlational analysis, the current study makes use of linear regression analysis to investigate relationships between independent predictor variables and a dependent variable outcome (criterion).

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Multiple regression is a statistical procedure for examining the combined relationships of multiple independent variables with a single dependent variable (Creswell, 2005). The independent variables of total (summed) EI and the five subscale dimensions of EI were defined using the EQ-i:S Questionnaire developed by Bar-On (2002). The dependent variable of stress levels of workers, defined as job stress, job pressure, and lack of support, was measured through the use of the Job Stress Survey (JSS) developed by Spielberger and Vagg (1999). Significance of the Study Significance of the Study The quantitative correlational study is significant because it broadens the limited literature that exists on EI and occupational stress among DCWs who assist adults with developmental disabilities. The findings of the study may lead to an increased awareness of which specific job-related factors cause stress among DCWs. Findings of the present study may facilitate determining which dimensions of EI are most related to these job- related factors. The current study may lead to an increased emphasis on stress management and EI training programs for DCWs. Strengthening DCW programs

may provide results that can address variables related to increased job productivity, increased job satisfaction, less turnover, improved client care, and overall employee well-being. Significance of the Study to Leadership The study could prove to be significant to those in leadership positions who must delegate work among DCWs. The findings of the study could assist health-care leadership in managing the shortage of DCWs by retaining current workers and reducing turnover (Dawson & Surpin, 2001). Fewer workers leaving the workforce might reduce

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heavy workloads, which are a cause of dissatisfaction and stress among DCWs (HHS, 2006). More leaders might decide to use EI as a tool to test workers before hiring them. Employees with higher levels of EI may experience lower levels of stress. Gilboa et al. (2008) purported that stress in the workplace is linked to employee well-being, job performance, and turnover. The results of the research add to the breadth of literature and leadership knowledge. Leaders with high levels of stress and low levels of EI might need training in the areas of stress management or EI. Goleman (1998) affirmed that managers who lacked EI skills would lose important relationships with peers, subordinates, and clients. The results of the current study might provide leaders with information needed to improve leadership training. The findings of the study could stimulate the creation of new stress management initiatives designed by leadership to improve the quality of client care in group homes. Managers might use the findings of the study to introduce EI training to employees in the health-care industry. The results of the study between EI and stress might provide leaders with information needed to improve employee well-being. Nature of the Study The purpose of the quantitative correlational research study was to determine the extent of the relationship between stress and EI among DCWs who assist adults with developmental disabilities in the Illinois area. A quantitative correlational research design approach was appropriate for the study because it served to facilitate an examination of

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the specific variables (Creswell, 2005) of employee stress (the dependent variable) and EI (the independent variable). A qualitative design was not appropriate for the study because a qualitative approach involves exploring broad questions without determining what might be discovered (Creswell, 2005). Qualitative studies ask general questions in an examining manner and engage a small number of individuals as participants (Creswell, 2005; Salkind, 2006). Quantitative research studies are specific and used to measure observable data about variables. Qualitative methods permit collecting data through interviews with open-ended questions to explore general and broad phenomena and to understand participants’ experiences (Creswell, 2005). Data collection involved the use of two validated survey instruments (Bar-On, 2002; Spielberger & Vagg, 1999). The study included statistical analysis and involved exploring a possible relationship between stress and EI. Data collection instruments used in quantitative research studies has preset questions and answers for statistical analysis (Creswell, 2005). The data collection instruments for the study included Likert-type scales to measure occupational stressors and EI. Salkind (2006) noted that a quantitative, correlational research method is appropriate to determine relationships between two or more variables without manipulating the variables. According to Leedy and Ormrod (2005), quantitative research serves one or more of the following purposes: explaining, predicting, or controlling events. A multivariate correlational research technique is appropriate for examining the relationship between dependent and independent variables (Salkind, 2006). A quantitative correlational research design is also appropriate when applying statistical knowledge with correlation

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statistical tests (Creswell, 2005). A quantitative correlational design was appropriate for accomplishing the intent of the study, which was to explore the possibility of a relationship between the independent variable (EI) and the dependent variable (stress). In addition to correlational analysis, the study made use of linear regression analysis to investigate relationships between independent predictor variables and a dependent variable outcome (criterion). For the purpose of this study, independent and dependent terms will be stated to identify correlation analysis; and predictor and criterion terms will be used to identify regression analysis. Research Questions The purpose of the research study was to discover the extent of the correlation between stress and EI for DCWs who assist adults with developmental disabilities. Previous research established the need to study the possible correlation between stress and EI (Gerits et al., 2005; Richards & Pryce, 2006). Based on these studies, the following two research questions were developed: 1. What is the relationship between stress as assessed by the JSS job stress severity (JS-S) score (Spielberger & Vagg, 1999) and the level of total EQ as assessed by the EQ-i:S (Bar-On, 2002) total (summed) EQ score among DCWs? 2. Which five subscale dimensions of the EQ-i:S (Bar-On, 2002), intrapersonal, interpersonal, stress management, adaptability, and general mood, have the strongest association with DCWs’ stress as assessed by the JSS JS-S score (Spielberger & Vagg, 1999)?

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Hypotheses Based on the research questions and various studies (Gerits et al., 2005; Harris- Kojetin et al., 2004; Richards & Pryce, 2006; Ruiz, 2007), two hypotheses were created. H 0 represents a null hypothesis and H A represents an alternative hypothesis. The two hypotheses for the study are as follows: H1 0 : Total (summed) EQ score is not a predictor of the JS-S score for DCWs who assist adults with developmental disabilities in the Illinois area as measured by the scales of the EQ-i:S (Bar-On, 2002) and stress levels as measured by the scales of the JSS (Spielberger & Vagg, 1999). H1 A : Total (summed) EQ score is a statistically significant predictor of the JS-S score for DCWs who assist adults with developmental disabilities in the Illinois area as measured by the scales of the EQ-i:S (Bar-On, 2002) and stress levels as measured by the scales of the JSS (Spielberger & Vagg, 1999). H2 0 : None of the EQ subscale scores of intrapersonal, interpersonal, stress management, adaptability, or general mood are important predictors of job stress as measured by the JS-S score for DCWs who assist adults with developmental disabilities in the Illinois area as measured by the scales of the EQ-i:S questionnaire (Bar-On, 2002) and stress levels as measured by the scales of the JSS (Spielberger & Vagg, 1999). H2 A : At least one of the EQ subscale scores of intrapersonal, interpersonal, stress management, adaptability, or general mood is a predictor of job stress as measured by the JS-S score for DCWs who assist adults with developmental disabilities in the Illinois area as measured by the scales of the EQ-i:S questionnaire (Bar-On, 2002) and stress levels as measured by the scales of the JSS (Spielberger & Vagg, 1999).

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Theoretical Framework Based on the research questions and variables for the study, a discussion of theory is crucial and significant (Cooper & Schindler, 2005). In formulating a theoretical perspective for examining the extent of the relationship between stress and EI, various theories and models are applicable. This section includes an exploration into the constructs of stress and EI. Stress Various models exist for examining the construct of stress. The earliest and most common models are (a) person-environment fit (PE-fit), (b) cognitive appraisal, and (c) job demands-control (Conti, Angelis, Cooper, Faragher, & Gill, 2006; Sekiguchi, 2007). According to Ehrhart and Makransky (2007), the PE-fit model is still pertinent today. The PE-fit model emphasizes the process through which an individual fits within his or her environment, which can influence the individual’s physical or psychological well-being. The environment can consist of groups, organizations, or jobs (Ehrhart). The PE-fit framework has contributed to the work of Spielberger, Vagg, and Wasala (2003) who defined specific job-related stressors that included employee job duties and responsibilities; support from the organizations, supervisors, and coworkers; and job conditions and requirements. The severity and frequency stressors of Spielberger and Vagg’s (2005) measurement might determine the psychological or physical outcomes that result in behaviors such as turnover, absenteeism, burnout, and health problems (Barling, Kelloway, & Frone, 2005; Spielberger et al., 2003). The JSS (Spielberger & Vagg, 2005) instrument was used in the current study, which was based on the PE-fit framework.

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Cognitive appraisal is a fundamental element in determining whether events or situations create stressful reactions and physical or psychological problems based on a person’s thoughts and beliefs about any particular incident (Ellison, 2004). Based on the cognitive model, what might be stressful for one person might not be stressful to another person. According to Lazarus and Folkman (1984), how an individual assesses an event influences the person’s coping strategies and emotional reactions. White (2004) noted that how an individual copes with stress relates to understanding how the individual interacts with the environment. Cognitive appraisal also involves adaptive expertise skills, which are necessary to manage rapidly changing or unexpected incidents (Blum & Polisar, 2004). Adaptive expertise allows a person to shift tactics and behavior in real time to meet the current conditions. Blum and Polisar posited that adapting and reacting to chaotic high-stress conditions requires constant mental conditioning activities. These mental activities might allow workers to react properly in highly stressful situations. The job demand-control model (Lin et al., 2009) has occupied research on stress at work for more than 20 years. The highest stressors occur when job demand is high and job control is low. The sources of demand might be quantitative, psychological, or emotional (Lin et al.). Emotional Intelligence Various theorists are associated with the creation of the concept of EI. Mayer and Salovey (1993) initially defined EI in the 1990s. The construct of EI later became popular because of Daniel Goleman’s bestseller, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Matters More Than I.Q. (Goleman, 1995). Bar-On (2002) created the term emotional quotient (EQ).

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Mayer and Salovey (1993) defined EI as “the ability to (a) perceive emotion, (b) use emotion to facilitate thought, (c) understand emotions, and (d) manage emotion” (p. 48). Mayer and Salovey believed that EI was useful for guiding one’s actions and making intelligent decisions and posited that EI requires an understanding of personal emotions in a way that allows for assistance in decision making, thinking, and actions. The Mayer- Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) was created to gauge the four scales of EI: using emotion to assist thought, managing emotion, understanding emotion, and perceiving emotion (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2002). According to Goleman (1995), “Emotional intelligence, the skills that help people harmonize, should become increasingly valued as a workplace asset in the years to come” (p. 160). Goleman’s model, which includes the branches of social awareness, self- awareness, relationship management, and self-management, is associated with personal and career success. Emotional intelligence contributes to several significant life outcomes, such as better decision-making abilities and improved learning skills (Goleman, 2005). Bar-On (2002) presented a definition of EI using five trait-based competencies: “(a) interpersonal skills, (b) intrapersonal skills, (c) complex and simple stress management, (d) functional adaptability, and (e) mood” (p. 1). The EQ-i was developed as a way to measure social and emotional intelligence. The intent of the EQ-i model was to look at how mood affects different people in different situations. Bar-On’s model is based on the concept that EI develops over time and that training can enhance EI skills. The EQ-i instrument has a widespread history and effectiveness in measuring EI (Wakeman, 2006) and was part of the research methodology of the current study.

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Researchers disagree whether EI is a convincing concept (Locke, 2005). According to Locke, good judgment and intelligent decisions are more important than employee well-being. Recognizing and understanding the operational definitions of terms used in the research study will enhance understanding about the theories of stress and EI. Definitions of Terms Adults with development disabilities. In the current study, developmentally disabled is synonymous with intellectually disabled. Adults with developmental disabilities are individuals who possess a severe, persistent disability, which is the result of a physical or mental condition that occurred before they reached 22 years of age and are unable to perform major life activities (HHS, 2006). Direct-care worker (DCW). Direct-care workers or staff are all personnel who provide personal assistance to individuals with developmental disabilities at home, at work, or when out in the community (U.S. Department of Labor, 2007). Emotional intelligence (EI). Emotional intelligence is trait-based competencies such as (a) interpersonal skills, (b) intrapersonal skills, (c) complex and simple stress management, (d) functional adaptability, and (e) mood (Bar-On, 2002). Group homes. In the current study, a group home is an Illinois state-licensed community-integrated living arrangement that promotes residential services for individuals who reside in their home shared with others and who receives an array of services to meet his or her needs (Illinois Department of Human Services, 2008). Job stress. Job stress is synonymous with occupational stress and organizational stress. These terms reflect excessive strain leading to harmful physical or emotional responses that occur when the capabilities of the worker cannot match the resources or

Full document contains 138 pages
Abstract: The purpose of this quantitative correlational research study was to determine the extent of association between stress and emotional intelligence among direct-care workers who assist adults with developmental disabilities in the Illinois area. The final sample consisted of 117 direct-care workers who assist adults with developmental disabilities in groups homes located in the southern suburbs of Illinois. Important positive relationships existed between stress and emotional intelligence, which revealed that direct-care workers with high stress levels have lower levels of emotional intelligence, and direct-care workers with low levels of stress have higher levels of emotional intelligence. The data findings also revealed that general mood is a substantial predictor of direct-care workers' stress. The recommendations that materialized from the study could be important to leaders, scholars, and future research.