College of Psychology Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PhD)

Department

Center for Psychological Studies

First Advisor

Christian DeLucia

Second Advisor

Thomas Kennedy

Third Advisor

Alex Edmonds

Fourth Advisor

Diana Formoso

Keywords

Emotional Intelligence, Foster Alumni, Foster Care, Intelligence, Maltreatment, Quality of Life

Abstract

This study examined factors predictive of post foster care outcomes, with a particular focus on Emotional Intelligence (EI). EI was conceptualized using Bar-On's mixed model approach. Central study questions examined whether EI offered incremental prediction of several meaningful outcomes, over and above other contextual and individual variables. Outcomes included educational attainment, income level, various domains of Quality of Life (QOL), and mental health functioning. Twenty one foster alumni participated in the study. Correlational and hierarchical regression analyses were performed. Predictor variables were organized into four blocks and entered using a hierarchical method in the following order: contextual foster care factors, transitional factors, general intelligence (IQ) and EI. Given the small sample size, relevant effect size estimates were used to interpret effects. Results of correlational analyses indicated that EI was meaningfully positively correlated with post-care educational attainment, income, personal growth, marital and extramarital relations, job characteristics and IQ. EI was inversely correlated with depression and anxiety. The results of hierarchical regression analyses indicated that EI was the most robust predictor of post foster care outcomes: including annual income, educational attainment, personal growth, job characteristics, extra-marital, marital and extended family relations, depression and anxiety over and above contextual foster care factors, transitional factors, and IQ. Given the study's small sample size, results are regarded as tentative and in need of subsequent replication. Despite relevant limitation, EI is considered an important construct worthy of further study in the foster care population.

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Psychology Commons

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