Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues (Print ISSN: 1544-0036; Online ISSN: 1544-0044)

Research Article: 2021 Vol: 24 Issue: 1S

Significant Predictors of Emotional Competence on Subjective Well-Being in School

Puspita Adhi Kusuma Wijayanti, Universitas Padjadjaran

Miryam Wedyaswari, Universitas Padjadjaran

Witriani, Universitas Padjadjaran


Emotional Competence, Subjective Well-Being in School, Senior High School Students, Intrapersonal Competence, Interpersonal Competence


 Background: Emotional Competence (EC) which refers to ability manage one’s own emotions and those of others, has been strongly associated to Subjective Well-Being (SWB) in multiple studies. However, little research has compared which important dimensions of EC predict SWB in specific domain, i.g. school. Previous researches mostly measured SWB in overall domain.

Objective: We study the dimensions of EC that significantly predict SWB in specific domain, i.e., school.

Methods: 45 senior high school students completed the two questionnaires. We ran Pearson correlation and multiple regressions to assess the correlation among two variables.

Results: EC significantly predict SWB in school at moderate level. Intrapersonal significantly predict SWB with dimension of expression and comprehension supply significant contribution. Interpersonal does not predict SWB, but dimension of utilization in interpersonal competence provide significant contribution to SWB in school.

Conclusion: Emotional competence especially intrapersonal emotional competence promotes high school student’s subjective well-being in school.


Study of subjective well-being for senior high school students become important to do because they spent more day time at school than at home or other places. Many extracurricular activities and organizations make students spend much time at school after class hours, so all their experiences at school could promote or even threat their well-being (García-Moya, Rivera & Moreno, 2013; Park, 2004). Deadlines, argument with peers, troubled interaction with peers and teachers, demands of academic performance and school rules have a strong impact on student’s well-being (Byrne, Davenport & Mazanov, 2007; Schönfeld, Brailovskaia, Bieda, Zhang & Margraf, 2016). Moreover, at senior high school, the level of stress increase because of they have to plan their future career which correlate with their plan after graduate from high school. Although exposure to some stressful negative events is considered a normal part of development, but potential stressors at school remain central as a potential threat to the well-being and healthy development of adolescents (Grant, Compas, Thurm, McMahon & Gipson, 2004).

Because of many potential stressors at senior high school, so some researchers investigated several factors to promote their well-being. One of the many promoting factors of well-being that has received increasing attention over recent decades is emotional competence, which had been shown to be positively correlated with subjective well-being (Ciarrochi & Scott, 2006; Miti¯c, Savi¯c & Stojiljkovi¯c, 2012). Emotional Competence (EC) sometimes better known as Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to how individuals deal with intrapersonal or interpersonal emotional information (Petrides & Furnham, 2003). In this study, we prefer use term “Emotional Competence” rather than “Emotional Intelligence” because Competence can be taught and learned. Recent studies showed that Emotion can be taught to improve psychological well-being and mental health (Kotsou, Nelis, Grégoire & Mikolajczak, 2011; Nelis et al., 2011). A high level of emotional competence is related to improve psychological and physical health (Martins, Ramalho & Morin, 2010).

Emotional Competence (EC) refers to individual differences in the way individuals are able to identify, understand, regulate and use their emotions, both on their own emotion and other’s (Mikolajczak, 2009). The concepts came from Salovey and Mayor about emotional intelligence, which Emotional intelligence was defined as a subset of social intelligence consist about emotion managing skills of one’s own and other’s (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). It consists of (1) appraisal and expression of emotion, (2) utilization of emotion. (Figure 1)

Figure 1: Conceptualization of Emotional Intelligence (Salovey & Mayer, 1990)

Appraising and expressing emotions accurately is a part of emotional intelligence. A person who are more accurate can more quickly perceive and respond to their emotions and better express those emotions to others. Appraising and expressing emotions is defined as a subset of skill to require the processing information from the environment or social interaction and using the information for adequate social functioning. Regulation of emotions refers to how individuals manage their emotions to be more adaptive and reinforcing mood states. A person with regulation of emotions skill should be especially adept at this process and do so to meet particular goals. Utilization of emotion refers to how individuals be able to harness their emotions in order to solve problems. This skill includes their moods and emotions which may influence some of the components and strategies involved in problem solving, i.e., flexible planning, creative thinking, redirected attention and motivation (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).

The relationship between emotional competence and subjective well-being has been studied by many researches (Ciarrochi & Scott, 2006; Miti¯c et al., 2012; Wang, Zou, Zhang & Hou, 2019). It is caused by difficulties in identifying their emotions, which may influence their difficulties to manage their emotions to solve problems (Ciarrochi & Scott, 2006). Difficulty identifying feelings in turn is likely to influence emotion management (Taylor, 2001). When people have difficulties to recognize their feeling, they are less able to resolve their emotional problems in constructive ways, and have possibility turning to destructive forms of management, like alcohol abuse (Taylor, 2001). When they cannot solve their problem in an effective ways, their life satisfaction and positive satisfaction will be decreased.

A person with emotional competence is aware of their own feelings and those of others. They are open to positive and negative experiences, are able to label them, and when appropriate, communicate them. This awareness will lead to the effective regulation of affect within themselves and others, and so contribute to well-being (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). For interpersonal dimensions, people who cannot recognize other’s feeling will be at risk for hurting others, so they are often considered as impolite or rude. Such people are often not being accepted or even rejected in their social interaction, which result in reducing their happiness and life satisfaction.

Not only for adults, is emotional competence also needed by students. As spoken before, that too many stressor in senior height schools that requires them is having good emotional competence, because school is not only place to learn but also a large social environment. Students meet every day, both with their peers and teachers. Deficit in emotional competence will make them experience social rejection that affects their subjective well-being. Hypotheses of this study are that social competence affects subjective well-being.

In this study, we measured student’s subjective well-being in specific domain, i.e., school. Previous study about subjective well-being in adolescent measured overall life domain, including family, school and workplace (Altun, Kaya Özbag & Arli, 2014; Jamaludin, Sam, Sandal & Adam, 2016; Rüppel, Liersch & Walter, 2015), while Scimmack (2008) said that subjective well-being should be more specific to measure. Some researchers suggest the research of subjective well-being will be better if measured in specific domain (e.g. school, family or workplace) because it will be more sensitive have an effect rather than a measure of global subjective well-being (Liu, Tian, Scott Huebner, Zheng & Li, 2014). Knowing the specific domain of someone’s well-being will make intervention become clearer and more precisely where to start.

Research Methods


The participants are 45 students from a public senior high school in Jatinangor, Sumedang West Java. There is only 1 private senior high school in Jatinangor. The participant’s age range from 15 until 18 years old. The sampling method is convenience sampling, students who may join in the research become participants.


Participants were asked to fulfill the two questionnaires, i.e., subjective well-being in school and emotional competence. The questionnaire was spread alternately, when participant finished the first questionnaire, and then directly they should take the second questionnaire. The questionnaires were tested to make sure whether the questionnaire is valid and reliable in Bahasa Indonesia.


The Brief Adolescent’ Subjective Well-Being In School Scale (Baswbss)

Developed by (Tian, Wang & Huebner, 2015), which has been validated to measure subjective well-being in school among Chinese adolescents. The BASWBSS consists of 8 items, and each of them was written to assess one dimensions. The BASWBSS is a tripartite model consist of 3 scale components: First, the School Satisfaction subscale, consisting of 6 items measure to measure 6 dimensions (achievement, school management, teacher-student relationship, peer relationship, teaching and academic learning). Second, the Positive Affect scale consisting of 1 adjective describing a student’s frequency of positive emotions experienced during school. Third, the Negative affect subscale, consisting of 1 adjective describing a student’s frequency of negative emotions experienced during school. Student responded all the statements on 6 point Likert Scale, ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree). This measuring tool was adapted and dual-translated in Indonesian.

Adaption process started with asking permission for using this questionnaire to the inventor. After we got the permission, the researcher did dual-translate to the questionnaire. After the dual translate, the researcher did the try out. The questionnaires were first administered to 300 senior high school students for tryout data. To confirm the measurement model of the BASWBSS in Bahasa Indonesia and formally assess its construct, a Confirmatory Factor Analysis was performed. The result showed that the model fit the data well with modification indices. Result showed that model fit the data with chi-square=14.20, df=10, p-value=0.16400 and RMSEA=0.021. The factor loadings on item 1-7 was ranging from 0,45 up to 0,68. While item no 8 about the negative affect is not valid with the loading factor is -0,11.

The Profile of Emotional Competence (PEC)

In the study, we used Emotional Competency Model by Mikolajczak (2009). This model replicates 4 dimensions proposed by Mayer & Salovey but separates identification from the expression of emotions based on the fact that studies on alexithymia have shown that these dimensions are factorial and conceptually distinct (Parker et al., 1993). This model distinguished the intrapersonal from interpersonal aspect of each dimension ; (1) identifying (being able to perceived an emotion when it appears and identify it), expressing (being able to express emotions in socially manner), understanding (being able to understand the causes and consequences of emotions), regulating (being able to regulate emotions in order to appropriate context) and utilization (being able to use emotions to improve reflection, decisions and actions (Brasseur, Grégoire, Bourdu & Mikolajczak, 2013).

The Profile of Emotional Competence is self-reported measure of emotional Competence (EC). It was translated into the Indonesian Version with forward-backward translation and validated by expert. The PEC measures 5 (five) core emotional competencies distinctly and separately for intrapersonal and interpersonal emotion. The 5 core emotional competencies are Identification, Expression, Comprehension, Regulation, and Utilization. The factorial structure was valid that consisted from the combination of 5 subscales (linked to the management of own’s emotions) and the other 5 subscales (linked to the others emotions) in two macro-competencies (that is intrapersonal EC and interpersonal EC). The PEC comprised 50 items scored on a 5-point Likert scale (sample item: When I feel touched by something, I immediately know what I feel; I am good at describing my feelings; If I wanted to, I could easily make others feel uneasy). The internal consistency was good (α=0.741) (Brasseur et al., 2013).


The Subjective Well-Being in School correlated significantly with Emotional Competence Global Score especially on School Satisfaction component (p<0.05). The Affective component of subjective well-being did not correlate significantly with emotional competence. Higher emotional competence only associated with greater school satisfaction component of subjective well-being. The alpha reliabilities for subjective well-being variables and emotional competence variables are presented along the diagonal of Table 1.

Table 1
Descriptive Statistics of the Relation Between Subjective Well-Being In School and Profile of Emotional Competence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
SWB Score 1
School Satisfaction 0.911** 1
Affective 0.702** 0.345* 1
EC Global Score 0.314* 0.375* 0.068 1
Intrapersonal Emotional Competence
Intrapersonal EC 0.358* 0.409** 0.110 0.892** 1
Identification 0.233 0.225 0.140 0.427** 0.547** 1
Expression 0.288 0.361* 0.031 0.451** 0.612** 0.324* 1
Comprehension 0.355* 0.315* 0.263 0.413** 0.560** 0.189 0.164 1
Regulation 0.086 0.124 -0.017 0.660** 0.559** 0.045 -0.036 0.219 1
Utilization 0.022 0.084 -0.095 0.544** 0.515** 0.151 0.122 -0.026 0.296* 1
Interpersonal Emotional Competence
Interpersonal EC 0.183 0.239 0.003 0.861** 0.537** 0.181 0.151 0.139 0.601** 0.435** 1
Identification -0.008 0.022 -0.054 0.586** 0.482** 0.098 0.216 0.337* 0.365* 0.307* 0.549** 1
Expression (Listen) 0.039 0.154 -0.178 0.512** 0.422** 0.126 0.312* 0.279 0.253 0.161 0.480** 0.429** 1
Comprehension 0.014 -0.023 0.073 0.301* 0.124 -0.018 -0.003 0.100 0.154 0.109 0.422** 0.254 -0.068 1
Regulation -0.007 0.010 -0.033 0.518** 0.204 -0.013 -0.165 -0.145 0.496** 0.441** 0.737** 0.178 0.084 0.207 1
Utilization 0.355* 0.390** 0.134 0.383** 0.218 0.240 0.062 -0.129 0.317* 0.153 0.469** -0.244 -0.010 -0.200 0.446** 1
M 38.7 30.2 8.6 154.7 80.5 16.4 15.1 14.1 16.6 18.3 74.2 14.4 16.2 13.9 14.6 15.13
SD 4.9 3.7 2.15 15.2 9.2 2.5 3.3 4.1 3.6 2.9 8.2 3.03 3.04 2.6 2.9 3.9
*Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).*
**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).**

Intercorrelations between the subjective well-being and emotional competence was used to evaluate the association between each variables. The Intrapersonal Emotional Competence correlated significantly with school satisfaction (p<0.01) specifically at Expression and Comprehension of Own Emotion. Most of The Interpersonal Emotional Competence were not correlated with school satisfaction with only one exception which is Utilization of Others Emotion (p<0.01).

We next performed regression analyses to evaluate the extent that each significantly correlated emotional competence variables predicted variations in school satisfaction component of subjective well-being. Those variables were entered as predictors into a multiple regression using the sequential method. The sequential method was choosen because the five core emotional competencies are process-based. The comprehension competency would not manifest if someone cold not identify their own emotion, and so on. Table 2 gives information about each model.

Table 2The Models Summary From Sequential Method of Multiple Regression
Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Change Statistics
R Square Change F Change df1 df2 Sig. F Change
1 0.315a 0.099 0.078 0.099 4.731 1 43 0.035
2 0.445b 0.198 0.160 0.099 5.166 1 42 0.028
3 0.604c 0.365 0.318 0.167 10.777 1 41 0.002
a. Predictors: (Constant), Expression-Intrapersonal
b. Predictors: (Constant), Expression-Intrapersonal, Comprehension-Intrapersonal
c. Predictors: (Constant), Expression-Intrapersonal, Comprehension-Intrapersonal, Utilization-Interpesonal
d. Dependent Variable:School Satisfaction

Teh most significant model emerged: F(1,41)=10.204, p<0.0005. The “c” model (Expression-Intrapersonal, Comprehension-Intrapersonal, and Utilization-Interpersonal) explains 31.8% of the variance in school satisfaction component of subjective well-being (adjusted R2=0.318). Table 3 gives information about regression coefficients for the predictor variables.

Table 3The Unstandardised and Standardised Regresssion Coefficients for the Variables Entered Into the Model
Variable B SE B β p
(Constant) 15.217 3.175 - 0.000
Expression – Intrapersonal EC 0.360 0.143 0.322 0.016
Comprehension – Intrapersonal EC 0.258 0.115 0.283 0.031
Utilization – Interpersonal EC 0.390 0.119 0.414 0.002

We examined which predictor of the Emotional competence had biggest predictor for subjective well-being. Utilization give biggest predictors among other variable of emotional competence, the utilization interpersonal had biggest predictors, followed by identification intrapersonal, comprehension intrapersonal, and the smallest is identification intrapersonal.


Subjective well-being (hereinafter abbreviated as SWB) is someone’s cognitive and affective evaluation of their life (Diener & Ryan, 2009). The SWB is affected by their experiences in life. More satisfied people are about their life, more well-being they had. Almost their experiences in life include problem solving involving emotional competence (hereinafter abbreviated as EC). The result of the study also showed that emotional competence significantly predicts the subjective well-being in school among senior high school student. These result also in line with previous research about positive correlation between emotional competence and subjective well-being (Ciarrochi & Scott, 2006; Di Fabio & Kenny, 2016; Miti¯c et al., 2012; Wang et al., 2019). Component of school satisfaction significantly predict SWB in school, but surprisingly the component of affective satisfaction does not predict SWB in school. It maybe cause that affective component of well-being being refers to the frequency of people feel positive and negative affect which they experienced different affective states over a specific time frame (e.g. the past 2 weeks) or right now (Luhmann, 2017). Negative feelings are affected by momentary feeling, and have no effect on their overall evaluation in school (Luhmann, Hawkley, Eid & Cacioppo, 2012). Previous study about developing measurement of SWB in school stated that school satisfaction significantly predicted school belonging, a claim for student’s positive evaluation of their school and played important role in their experiences at school (Guo et al., 2005; Tian, 2007), positive affect also significantly predicted school belonging, but negative evaluation did not predict school belonging (Liu et al., 2014). It showed that the frequency of the feelings of students in the school is not necessarily predicting subjective wellbeing at school.

Related to predictor of SWB in school, in this study emotional competence significantly predict their SWB in school, but did not predict their positive affect and negative affect in school. This emotional competence as the cognitive ability to perceive, utilize, understand, and manage one’s own and other’s ability (Mayer et al., 2003; Rivers et al., 2012). The skill help people dealing with any stimulus from environment, and when they succeed to adjust and solve any various problems, they are more satisfied with life. The same thing happened to students, emotional competence help them to adjust with any stimulus likely to cause conflict from peers, teachers, academic demand, and etc., but that competence could not keep them from a variety of stimuli that trigger positive or negative feelings. Many problems in school could be happen affecting their feelings, but then they requires emotional competence to handle all the problems well, which when successful they have a school satisfaction. Meanwhile, the affective component is affected by momentary moments they feel in last few days. In this study, correlation between emotional competences is higher to school satisfaction rather than SWB in school.

Intrapersonal total score significantly correlate both on SWB in school and also school satisfaction, while interpersonal is not significantly correlate SWB in school but correlated to school satisfaction. This research is in line with previous researches, which intrapersonal predict mental health better than interpersonal emotion competence (Mikolajczak et al., 2015). When intrapersonal predict mental and physically health, interpersonal predict significantly to social interaction and better performance at job (Brasseur et al., 2013). High level of manage their owns feeling correlate with higher level of SWB. In the intrapersonal dimensions, only expression and comprehension that significantly correlate to their of SWB.

Even when it’s uncomfortable or uneasy, one of the best ways to heal is simply getting everything out” (Anonymous)

Expressing emotion could predict SWB, because by expressing their emotions, the burden feels reduced, and make feelings better. Previous study about emotion in adolescence males found that the dimension of emotional recognition and expression, and the control of emotions, mediate the relationship between fully dispositional mindfulness and subjective happiness (Teal et al., 2019). The second dimensions of intrapersonal EC that significantly predict SBW in school is comprehension. Ability to understand our emotions will make someone could determine the causes and impact of their emotion, and then lead their behavior. Without comprehend their emotion, they will have difficulties to regulate emotions because they don’t know what they have should do. People who cannot recognize and understand their own happiness, won’t be able to plan lives that fulfill them emotionally. The planning deficit will make them not have a good future that can meet their emotional needs, and then at risk becoming depressed and even suicidal (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).

The only dimension from interpersonal EC is utilization. For adolescent, school is a biggest social environment in their life. Many conflicts in schools often affect the psychological condition. The conflict requires student’s problem solving ability, which utilization in EC refers to being able to use emotions to improve reflection, decisions and actions towards others (Brasseur et al., 2013). Peer relation is significant factor related to SWB in school (Wijayanti & Sulistiobudi, 2018), so a variety of conflicts that occur in the school, will affect their relationships with peers, which then affects the well-being of them. Utilization emotional competences become so important because it will be very useful for solving various problems, both in friendship itself and helps their friend’s problems. The purpose is so that the friendly relations maintained properly.

Conclusion and Suggestion

Conclusion of the study is that intrapersonal aspect significantly predicts the SWB in school. It support with previous study, which intrapersonal aspect predict SWB better than interpersonal aspect. Expression and comprehension becomes the most important dimension of intrapersonal to predict SWB in school, meanwhile in managing other’s emotion, emotional utilization competence is significant to improve SWB in school. Understanding other’s emotion to solve the problem is crucial to their well-being. Further study is suggested to use structural equation model to analyze the data in order to get a better assumption for this measurement model.


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