Original Research

Trait emotional intelligence and flourishing: The mediating role of positive coping behaviour

Melissa du Plessis
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 49 | a2063 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v49i0.2063 | © 2023 Melissa du Plessis | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 October 2022 | Published: 03 March 2023

About the author(s)

Melissa du Plessis, Department of Human Resource Management, College of Economics and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Orientation: Personality and emotion-related predispositions cause individuals to respond differently to environmental stressors, resulting in different wellness outcomes.

Research purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the mediating role of positive coping behaviour in the association between trait emotional intelligence and flourishing.

Motivation for the study: Research shows that emotionally intelligent people experience higher subjective well-being and psychological functioning. Yet, few studies have examined the pathway through which trait emotional intelligence leads to improved well-being, especially in times of uncertainty and change.

Research approach/design and method: A cross-sectional survey design was used to collect quantitative data from a convenience sample of knowledge workers in South Africa. The participants’ self-evaluations were measured using the Assessing Emotional Scale, the Positive Coping Behaviour Inventory and the Flourishing Scale. Statistical analyses included the use of descriptive statistics, the assessment of model fit, the evaluation of bivariate correlations and mediation analyses.

Main findings: The results show that the significant association between trait emotional intelligence and flourishing is attributable to the positive coping behaviour capabilities of emotionally intelligent individuals.

Practical/managerial implications: In a work environment characterised by the unknown and unpredictable, organisations should remain focused on enhancing employees’ emotion-related abilities and personal psychosocial resources.

Contribution/value-add: By focusing on the mediating role of positive coping behaviours in the relationship between trait emotional intelligence and flourishing, this study contributes to existing knowledge regarding the pathway through which specific dispositional characteristics influence well-being outcomes at work.


trait emotional intelligence; positive coping behaviour; flourishing; Fourth Industrial Revolution; knowledge workers; individual well-being

JEL Codes

I31: General Welfare, Well-Being; L00: General

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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