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Contributions to the empirical validation of ability and trait EI (measures)

Although aspiring to occupy quite different places in the semantic network of differential psychology - within the realm of cognitive abilities versus that of personality traits in the narrower sense - both Els had to pass the same test of empirical validity. In essence, they had to be shown to represent coherent qualities that are reliably measurable, meaningfully related to cogent constructs, and incrementally predictive of important outcomes.

The assessment of ability and trait EI in Serbia

As a prerequisite for gathering any validity evidence, research attention was first directed towards providing reliable tools for the assessment of El. Regarding ability El, a Serbian translation of the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT: Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2002: described in Chapter 1) was devised as early as 2008 and permission for its application was obtained from the publisher, Multi-Health Systems, in 2010. The psychometric properties of this instrument were initially examined on a sample of 250 high-school graduates (Altaras Dimitrijevic & Jolic Marjanovic, 2010) and the Serbian MSCEIT thus found to closely resemble the original and other versions in terms of both reliability - ranging from .75 to .90 for the four branch scores and reaching .93 at whole-scale level - and factor structure (cf. Fan, Jackson, Yang, Tang, & Zhang, 2010; Joseph & Newman, 2010). Apart from the MSCEIT, the repertory of ability El measures available in Serbian includes three instruments tapping specific aspects of the construct’s “strategic area”: The Vocabulary of Emotions Test (VET), originally developed in Croatian by Vladimir Taksic (Taksic, Harambasic, & Velemir, 2003), as well as the Situational Test of Emotional Understanding (STEU) and the Situational Test of Emotional Management (STEM), both created by MacCann and Roberts (MacCann & Roberts, 2008). While Taksic’s VET has been found to exhibit good internal consistency in a sample of Serbian university students (Altaras Dimitrijevic, Starcevic, & Jolic Marjanovic, 2019), the Serbian versions of the STEU and STEM seem to require some revisions in order to reach acceptable reliability levels (Roberts et al., 2015). Low internal consistencies were also obtained for the non-verbal Emotion Recognition Index (ERI; Scherer & Scherer, 2011), when this test of perceiving emotions in vocal and facial expressions was piloted with a sample of 212 Serbian students of education.

Regarding the assessment of trait El, the main focus was on devising a Serbian version of the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue; Petrides, 2009) as an instrument designed to provide full coverage of this construct’s sampling domain. A pilot study with a sample of 91 university students and 103 saleswomen (Altaras Dimitrijevic, Jolic Marjanovic, Petrovic, & Petrides, 2011) already yielded a favorable picture of the psychometric properties of the TEIQue full form, which was later confirmed with a larger and more heterogeneous sample of employed adults (Jolic Marjanovic & Altaras Dimitrijevic, 2014). A CFA supported the proposed latent structure encompassing four factors, the internal consistency of which hovered around .80, yielding an overall alpha of .95. Similar reliabilities were established for the Serbian TEIQue-Adolescent Form (Milojevic, Altaras Dimitrijevic, Jolic Marjanovic, & Dimitrijevic, 2016), and in a study involving 606 children aged between 8 and 13, the Serbian TEIQue-Child Form was also shown to be a psychometrically sound instrument (Banjac, Hull, Petrides, & Mavroveli, 2016).

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