Emotional Intelligence As A Resource For Occupational Health Of A Teacher


Emotional intelligence is considered in the context of a model of abilities, as a resource for the development of professional competence and a factor that determines the professional health of a teacher in particular. Professional health of a teacher is defined as an integrative property that makes it possible to cope with various situations of professional activity. The psychological factors of the teacher's professional health are reflected in the cognitive, emotional and behavioral aspects. The study is part of the implementation of a program for the formation and development of emotional intelligence among participants in the educational process on the basis of the federal innovative experimental site of secondary school No. 89 in St. Petersburg. The study involved 60 teachers (women) of a comprehensive school in St. Petersburg; their average age is 43.5 years old, average teaching experience – 21 years. It was assumed that emotional intelligence contributes to the preservation and maintenance of the teacher's professional health. The results of the study show that the ability to manage their own emotional states allows a person to rationally approach the situation and objectively assess it. Understanding the emotions of communication partners contributes to the teacher's orientation towards a positive reassessment, rethinking difficult professional situations. The results of the study prove that emotional intelligence for teachers is the very soft-skills that allow one not only to adapt to the constantly changing situation of professional activity, but also to maintain and to protect the resources of their own occupational health.

Keywords: Coping strategies, model, occupational health, abilities, emotional intelligence


The relevance of the problem of occupational health of a human is due to the need to solve such practical problems as the effectiveness of professional activities of people and organizations in general, optimization of intragroup relations in work collectives, the formation and maintenance of labor motivation, employee loyalty. Today, occupational health psychology is one of the promising scientific areas of psychology, which addresses the study of such phenomena as psychosocial risk management, positive psychology and employee well-being (Leka & Houdmont, 2010; Leka & Jain, 2019; Nikiforov, 2017). Occupational health is defined as a multidimensional property of the human body that ensures working efficiency in various situations of professional activity (Shingaev, 2020). Occupational health is reflected in the goals, motives of a person in relation to professional activity; in relation to their own achievements and failures; in the integrity of personal values and professional activities; in mental and physical well-being. It largely determines the feeling of satisfaction and success of a person in life. The criteria for assessing occupational health are physical, mental and psychological indicators. Physical indicators include physical well-being, appearance. Stability of attention, criticality of thinking, adequacy of perception, emotional stability, activity are considered as mental indicators. Psychological indicators are expressed in such characteristics as responsibility, commitment, self-confidence, positive perception of current events. Let us note that occupational health indicators overlap in many respects with the characteristics of emotional intelligence.

In our research, we turn to the study of the emotional intelligence of a teacher as a resource for maintaining their occupational health.

The professional activity of a modern teacher makes high demands on various components of their professional competence. What are the conditions that characterize the current educational situation? Rubtsov (2017) emphasizes the instability of the modern education system, which manifests itself in the absence of a general ideological model of education and upbringing, in excessive experimentation with various forms of education and educational content. For modern children and adolescents, school is not the main and only space in which they satisfy their cognitive, emotional needs. The high rates of development of information and digital technologies encourage teachers to introduce new teaching tools and methods; to be competitive, interesting for the student, flexible. An individual approach to a student becomes especially relevant in the context of an increase in children with disabilities, the introduction of inclusive education. Thus, the results of a study of the psychological competence of teachers demonstrate a high level of need for knowledge about methods of emotional regulation, increasing student motivation, technologies for regulating conflict relations between subjects of the educational environment (Dubrovina & Lubovsky, 2017; Filippova et al., 2019; Pavlova & Kornilova, 2019).

In such a situation, the socio-psychological support of teachers should increasingly be focused on creating conditions conducive to maintaining the teacher's occupational health.

Problem Statement

Scientific interest in the study of the phenomenon of emotional intelligence has not faded for the past fifteen years. This is largely due to the great scientific and practical significance of research on emotional intelligence, aimed at solving problems in the professional, interpersonal spheres of human life. Emotional intelligence is declared as a guarantee of a person's success in social interaction, allowing one to feel confident, happy, and achieve one's goals, which is convincingly shown in one of the works of Goleman (1995).

For the first time in scientific psychology, Gardner (2007) speaks about emotional intelligence, dividing intelligence into two components: intrapersonal and interpersonal. The first allows a person to recognize and operate with their own emotions; the second, by the moods and motives of other people. Following H. Gardner, other authoritative psychologists in the field of the study of intelligence, mention the so-called “social intelligence” (Eysenck, 2017; Guildford, 1988). Social intelligence is considered as a person's ability to understand relationships between people and the ability to use this knowledge in organizing their own behavior in communication and relationships. The concept of “social intelligence” turns out to be close to “emotional intelligence” in connection with the ability to understand relationships between people. Nevertheless, cognition of another person in the process of interaction is impossible without awareness of one's own experiences, understanding the reasons for their occurrence, and the ability to correctly identify the emotions of others.

For the first time, the term “emotion coefficient” and the abbreviation EQ were used by Bar-On in 1988. The emotion coefficient was considered by him as “the ability, competence to cope with challenges and environmental pressure” (Bar-On, 1997, 2016). In this case, not only the ability to understand communication between people is emphasized, but also the ability to help a person manage their own emotional states, adapt to new conditions, and maintain their own self-esteem. According to Bar-On (2016), EQ is not only abilities, but also personal qualities of a person, ensuring effective interaction, adaptation and psychological well-being.

The term “emotional intelligence” was directly introduced into the scientific psychological language by Mayer and Salovey (1993). Emotional intelligence was defined by the authors as a set of abilities aimed at assessing and expressing emotions, their regulation and use of their own and others' emotions (Mayer & Salovey, 1993; Mayer et al., 2016, 2020; Rivers et al., 2019). This definition assumes a fairly wide range of abilities that can be manifested in both speech and non-speech behavior. So, the assessment of emotions is directly related to their perception and understanding, which can be manifested in the empathic abilities of a person. Expressing one's own emotions involves not only expressive abilities, but also verbal competence. Later, the authors identified the ability to process and use emotional information in the definition of emotional intelligence. Consideration of emotional intelligence as abilities allows one to develop technologies for its development and determine it as a component of the professional competence of specialists working in the field of social interaction.

In Russian psychology, Lyusin (2019), Andreeva (2019), Aleshina and Shabanov (2017), Sergienko et al. (2020). At the stage of formulation, this concept was defined in the “affective-intellectual” continuum: the influence of emotions on cognitive activity, the relationship between emotions and thinking, the regulation of behavior and emotions are considered.

The most popular model of emotional intelligence is one by Lyusin (2019), who defined it as a person's ability to understand and manage their own and others' emotions. He emphasizes that these abilities are associated not only with cognitive abilities, but also with the personality orientation of a person. Personal characteristics include openness, appeal and interest of a person to other people and to their own world as a whole. In the structure of emotional intelligence Lyusin (2019) distinguishes two components: intrapersonal (the ability to understand, identify one's own emotions, control and manage them) and interpersonal (the ability to recognize the emotions of others, understand the reasons for their occurrence and organize their own behavior as a regulator of the emotions of others) emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is mediated by cognitive abilities (speed, recognition accuracy), features of emotionality (sensitivity, stability) and ideas about emotions (attitude to emotions as a source of information about oneself and other people).In this model, emotional intelligence is considered as abilities that have specific measurable indicators and as a peculiarity of individual and personal characteristics.

Modern research is focused on finding evidence that emotional intelligence is a factor mediating adaptive capabilities, life resources (Solodkova et al., 2019), as a resource for professional burnout (Bochkareva, 2016), coping behavior (Korzun, 2017). The features of the emotional intelligence of representatives of various professional spheres are studied; emotional intelligence is beginning to be seen as a component of professional competence. The study of Khazova and Shipova (2020) demonstrated the relationship between the level of emotional intelligence and coping behavior. People with high emotional intelligence not only cope better with difficult life situations, but also treat them as passing, temporary, and also as a resource for their own development. People with low emotional intelligence, on the contrary, are prone to depression, use regression methods to overcome difficult situations. Research by Bochkareva (2016) showed that professional burnout reduces the emotional intelligence of contact center specialists, causing emotional exhaustion.

Summarizing the above, it is worth noting that, firstly, emotional intelligence as a person's ability to operate with emotional information about them self, others largely determines social adaptation, improves the mental and psychological state of a person, and helps to maintain self-esteem. Secondly, emotional intelligence is a dynamic psychological characteristic. Its development is associated not only with cognitive characteristics, but also with external factors (learning, experience of social interaction).In this context, emotional intelligence can be viewed as a resource for a person's occupational health.

Research Questions

The psychological factors of the teacher's professional health are reflected in the cognitive, emotional and behavioral aspects (Shingaev, 2020).Thus, the cognitive aspect involves the teacher's idea of his own level of health, the impact of health on professional activity, understanding the risks of professional activity. The emotional aspect of occupational health includes a spectrum of experiences of “health-illness”, emotional response. The behavioral aspect is revealed through the features of behavior that contribute to adaptation to a changing environment; strategies for overcoming difficult professional situations. These psychological factors of occupational health are directly related to emotional intelligence.

In our study, the coping strategy preferred by the teacher is one of the parameters of the manifestation of emotional intelligence in behavior and professional activity. We believe that this is due to the fact that it is in the strategy of behavior in difficult professional situations that the abilities for self-control, assessing the situation from the point of view of communication partners, understanding the emotional experiences of all participants in the interaction, understanding the cause-and-effect relationships of these experiences and, most importantly, organizing one's own behavior.

The research questions are aimed at studying the relationship between the characteristics of the emotional intelligence of teachers and their coping strategies, as well as the relationship between the development of the emotional intelligence of a teacher and their occupational health.

It is part of the implementation of a program for the formation and development of emotional intelligence among participants in the educational process on the basis of the federal innovative experimental site of secondary school No. 89 in St. Petersburg. The first stage of the program implementation is associated with the development of the emotional intelligence of teachers and teaching them technologies for the development of emotional intelligence in children and adolescents.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study, reflected in this article, is to confirm our statement about the relationship between emotional intelligence and occupational health of teachers. We believe that emotional intelligence is the soft-skills that for teachers contributes to both successful adaptation to the constantly changing situation of professional activity, and a resource for their occupational health.

Research Methods

Psychodiagnostic tools:

  • the EmIn Questionnaire developed by Lyusin (2006);
  • methodology “Diagnostics of the level of empathy” by V. V. Boyko (as cited in Ilyin, 2015);
  • Ekman (2018) 60 Faces Test;
  • R. Lazarus' “Coping Strategy Questionnaire” (as cited in Shingaev, 2010).

Statistical methods: analysis of mean values, correlation analysis (Pearson's linear correlation, p = 0.5).

The study involved subject teachers, in the amount of 60 people; all respondents are women (age M=43.5, SO=10.03).Experience in teaching – from 3 to 40 years (M=21.8, SO=10.4).


Indicators of emotional intelligence components and coping strategy models are in the zone of average values. The data are presented below in Table 01. Teachers demonstrate the ability to understand the emotions of other people, recognize them in the context of interaction, and influence them. In addition, they are aware of their experiences and emotions, understand what they are caused in interaction and seek to control them. In many ways, this is normative behavior in the context of pedagogical professional interaction. The absence of high values for any individual indicators of emotional intelligence in this group of teachers indicates that purposeful activity for the development of this competence is not carried out or teachers are faced with the onset of professional burnout. This is confirmed by the results of a study of the empathic abilities of teachers whose level of development is low. Teachers are focused on creating an atmosphere of trust, openness; to understand the behavior and emotional state of a partner, they rely on their experience, intuition, rather than on the signals of the verbal and non-verbal behavior of a particular partner in a “here-and-now” situation. Most likely, this is due to professional perception stereotypes. As an additional toolkit, P. Ekman's test was used, aimed at studying the ability to recognize facial expressions. The subjects are presented with ten photographs with facial expressions of six basic emotions (sixty photographs in total).It should be noted that the intensity of expression of each emotion is different. Teacher error rates are higher in identifying the emotions of fear and anger. Not pronounced fear, anger is more difficult to define, they were confused with contempt.

Table 1 - Descriptive statistics of the characteristics of emotional intelligence and coping strategies of teachers (p≤0.05), (N = 60)
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Among coping strategies, the most popular are positive ones, namely: planning a solution to a problem, seeking social support, positive reappraisal and self-control. In difficult professional and life situations, teachers prefer to analyze the situation, objectively assess all available resources and identify specific tasks to solve the problem. In the process of solving difficult situations, teachers control their feelings and actions, which allows them to consider the situation from different angles and re-evaluate it, each difficult situation is considered as a new experience. It should be noted that when difficult situations arise, teachers prefer to use the support of their colleagues (seeking social support).We can assume that modern teachers are focused on cooperation with specialists of the counseling service as well as on the collegial solution of difficult pedagogical situations.

Correlation analysis (Pearson's linear correlation, p = 0.5) was used to study the originality of emotional intelligence and the relationship with coping strategies. As a result, a relationship was found between the indicators of the respondents' leading coping strategies and the indicators of emotional intelligence (Figure 01).

Figure 1: Figure 1. The relationship between the characteristics of emotional intelligence and coping strategies of a teacher
Figure 1. The relationship between the characteristics of emotional intelligence and coping strategies of a teacher
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N.B. EI indicators: IEI – interpersonal emotional intelligence; MPE – managing partner's emotions; UPE – understanding the partner's emotions; UOE – understanding your own emotions; EI – general indicator of EI; EC – general indicator of emotion control; IEU – general indicator of emotional understanding

has the greatest number of correlations with indicators of emotional intelligence. Correlations were found with the indicators of “understanding partner's emotions”, “managing partner's emotions” and general indicators of emotional intelligence. Well-developed abilities to understand the emotions of a communication partner, to manage them, contribute to rethinking a difficult situation, assessing it as positive in terms of improving one's own professional experience. Understanding a partner's emotions involves not only identifying the emotion, but also understanding the reasons for its occurrence. Thus, negative emotions of a partner can be perceived not as an obstacle, threat or negative result of their activities, but first of all, as an incentive to review the situation, to realize their own actions in relation to a partner. A difficult situation in professional interaction can be perceived as a stimulus for development, the search for possible positive consequences, for example, the development of mutual understanding between teachers and students.

has a relationship with the index of intrapersonal emotional intelligence “managing one's own emotions” and the general indicator of emotional intelligence. The ability to manage their own emotions, to understand them, allows teachers to rationally assess the situation, from the point of view of objective conditions, their own resources and make the most effective decision. The development of reflexive skills, self-regulation skills in communication contributes to the formation of the teacher's focus on developing a behavior strategy for solving problem situations.

also finds correlations with general indicators of emotional intelligence and the indicator of understanding one's own emotions. Focusing on reflection, on understanding a communication partner encourages teachers to resolve difficult situations collegially, referring to colleagues, support service specialists, and administration.


The results of the study prove that emotional intelligence for teachers is the very soft-skills that allow one not only to adapt to the constantly changing situation of professional activity, but also to maintain and to protect the resources of their own occupational health. Teachers demonstrate the ability to objectively (outside of emotional response) assess the situation, the tendency to cooperate, to have open communication and find collegial solution of professional issues, which, on the one hand, can also be considered as normative-role behavior; on the other hand, it is a resource for professional development and savings. The development of the ability to understand the experiences of another person, to influence them, to manage their own emotions, as well as the development of the ability to see the situation of interaction from different sides, turns out to be impossible without each other, which should be taken into account in the programs of psychological support of teachers.


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Shingaev, S., & Yurkova, E. (2021). Emotional Intelligence As A Resource For Occupational Health Of A Teacher. In A. G. Shirin, M. V. Zvyaglova, O. A. Fikhtner, E. Y. Ignateva, & N. A. Shaydorova (Eds.), Education in a Changing World: Global Challenges and National Priorities, vol 114. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 563-571). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.07.02.67