Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 221–235 | Cite as

Clarifying The Links Between Perceived Emotional Intelligence and Well-Being in Older People: Pathways Through Perceived Social Support from Family and Friends

  • Lourdes ReyEmail author
  • Natalio Extremera
  • Nicolás Sánchez-Álvarez


Although emotional intelligence (EI) and social support are important predictors of well-being in adolescents and adults, there has been little research on their combined effects on well-being in older people. From a developmental perspective, it would be premature to assume similar models for EI, social support and well-being for older adults as were established for adolescents and adults. This study investigated sources of perceived social support as potential mediators of the relationship between EI and well-being indicators (life satisfaction and happiness) in older people. A Spanish sample of 383 older people aged 55 years and older completed a self-report survey regarding perceived emotional intelligence, perceived social support, life satisfaction, and subjective happiness. We found EI scores to be moderately and significantly related to different sources of perceived social support, life satisfaction and subjective happiness measures. Using path analyses, results showed that perceived social support from both family members and friends partially mediated the relationships between EI scores and life satisfaction and happiness (only for social support from friends). That is, emotionally intelligent older people reported higher level of perceived support from friends and family which resulted in higher well-being indicators. These findings suggest that EI may play a role in the well-being of older people with the benefit depending on the sources of perceived social support.


Emotional Intelligence; Perceived Social Support Life Satisfaction Happiness Older People 



This research was financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Grant PSI2012-38813) and research project from University of Málaga (PPIT.UMA.B1.2017/23).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicting interests.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of MálagaMalagaSpain
  2. 2.University of JaénJaénSpain

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