Monday, October 24, 2011

Interventions increase EQ and decrease stress

The below article was recently published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. This article sparked two major thoughts. I have historically believed that individuals can change their behaviors but not their attitudes (there are exceptions). This article suggests that these participants were able to increase their emotional intelligence as well as sustain it for over a year. In addition they were able to make an internal chemical changes  (i.e., cortisol levels). This illustrates a deep change that is far beyond just a behavioral change. Secondly, this study illustrates the power of training and that techniques and interventions can be used to help people reduce stress and decrease cortisol levels without the use of medication.

So use you brains, follow your hearts and get off the meds.

Kotsou, I., Nelis, D., Grégoire, J., & Mikolajczak, M. (2011). Emotional plasticity: Conditions and effects of improving emotional competence in adulthood. Journal of Applied psychology, 96(4), 827-839.
This study aimed to investigate (a) whether it is possible to increase emotional competence (EC), as measured by two versions of the TEIQue - self-report and informant report; (b) whether this improvement results in better mental, physical, and social adjustment; (c) whether this improvement can be maintained 1 year later; and (d) whether these benefits are accompanied by a reduction in stress-hormone secretion (i.e., cortisol). One hundred and thirty-two participants were randomly assigned to an EC-enhancing intervention (in group format) or to a control group. Participants in the intervention group underwent a specifically designed 15-hr intervention targeting the 5 core emotional competencies. Results reveal that the level of emotional competencies increased significantly in the intervention group in contrast with the control group. This increase resulted in lower cortisol secretion, enhanced subjective and physical well-being, as well as improved quality of social and marital relationships in the intervention group. No significant change occurred in the control group. Peer reports on EC and quality of relationships confirmed these results. These data suggest that emotional competencies can be improved, with effective benefits on personal and interpersonal functioning lasting for at least 1 year. Moreover, improvements in EC emerged with a strong coherence among self-reported and informant measures.