Emotional intelligence as a buffer of occupational stress

Newton, Cameron, Teo, Stephen T.T., Pick, David, Ho, Marcus, & Thomas, Drew (2016) Emotional intelligence as a buffer of occupational stress. Personnel Review, 45(5), pp. 1010-1028.

View at publisher



  • The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of emotional intelligence (EI) as a buffer to job stressors on employee adjustment.


  • Based on the job demands resources model, this study examined 306 nurses in the healthcare sector to test a model of job stressors, EI, and their interactions nursing adjustment outcomes (i.e. job satisfaction and psychological health). The hypothesized model predicted that higher trait EI would act as a buffer to the potential negative effects of stressors on employee adjustment. Two-way moderated hierarchical multiple regression analyses was used to test the model in addition to interaction effects.


  • The results of this study revealed mixed results in terms of the expected main effects of EI and the five significant moderating effects. While some interactions support a buffering hypothesis; contrary to expectations, a buffering effect was also found for those with low EI.

Research limitations/implications

  • The findings enable a better understanding how EI moderates the effects of stressors on important work outcomes in healthcare. Additionally, the implications from this study allows healthcare administrators and managers to improve staffing and work outcomes through identifying and selecting staff who are characterized by higher trait EI or alternatively, train staff in self-awareness and dealing with emotional behaviors.

Practical implications

  • HR managers could focus on selecting staff, who possessed higher trait EI for roles where overload and ambiguity are endemic to the job performed. Training could also be used to enhance EI among managers to focus on self-awareness and dealing with emotional behaviors.


  • This study makes several contributions to understanding how EI moderates the relationships between work stressors and workplace adjustment and wellbeing.

Impact and interest:

0 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

107 since deposited on 21 Jul 2016
107 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 97573
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Quantitative, Stress, Nurses, Emotions, Job Characteristics
DOI: 10.1108/PR-11-2014-0271
ISSN: 0048-3486
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Human Resources Management (150305)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 MCB University Press Ltd.
Deposited On: 21 Jul 2016 23:16
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2017 07:20

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page