Sex Roles

, Volume 70, Issue 11–12, pp 479–495 | Cite as

Perceptions of Gender Differences in Self-Report Measures of Emotional Intelligence

  • Esther Lopez-ZafraEmail author
  • Leire Gartzia
Original Article


Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to the abilities/competencies that an individual has about emotions and has proven to be related to positive aspects in life. Despite its growing relevance, results about the existence and magnitude of gender differences have been inconclusive, with some studies suggesting that such differences depend on the theoretical approach and type of instrument used. In an effort to better understand these relationships, this study examined the stereotyped nature of self-report instruments of EI from the two main theoretical EI approaches (ability-based and mixed models). Two hundred sixty Spanish undergraduates from a university in the South of Spain indicated the extent to which they considered several EI competences as typical of women/men. Results show that most EI dimensions are biased by gender stereotypes, in terms of being perceived as more characteristic of one gender or the other. An in-group gender bias appeared particularly among female participants whereby they attributed higher scores to women than to men in most EI dimensions. Men also favored men giving higher scores than women did in some of the dimensions. These results suggest that self-report EI measures may be influenced by gender stereotypes, which has relevant implications for EI researchers.


Emotional Intelligence Instruments Gender perceptions EI models Self-reports 



We are grateful to Manuel Miguel Ramos, PhD, for his advice in methodological aspects.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social PsychologyUniversity of JaénJaénSpain
  2. 2.Department of People Management in OrganizationsUniversity of DeustoBilbaoSpain
  3. 3.Faculty of Humanities and Sciences of Education, Department of PsychologyUniversity of JaenJaenSpain

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