University students with higher emotional intelligence achieved better academic results following the COVID-19 lockdown

University students with higher emotional intelligence have shown greater resilience during the COVID-19 lockdown period, which has led to higher academic performance. Research teamThis is the main conclusion of a research that will soon be published in the article “Impacto de la COVID-19 en los universitarios: inteligencia emocional, resiliencia, engagement y rendimiento académico” [Impact of COVID-19 on university students: emotional intelligence, resilience, engagement and academic performance], which will be published in September in the journal Sustainability, in an issue featuring professors Marta Estrada, Diego Monferrer and Alma Rodríguez from the Department of Business Administration and Marketing at the Universitat Jaume I will as guest editors.

The research fieldwork consisted of 340 valid surveys among students from 18 different degrees at the Jaume I, València, Burgos and Cardenal Herrera-CEU universities. The data collection was carried out between April and May 2020, while the students were confined. According to the model used, Estrada argues, «the more emotionally intelligent students showed a greater commitment to their studies and, consequently, produced a better performance». This conclusion is transversal to all fields of knowledge and the different study cycles, given that the survey was answered by undergraduate students from different bachelor’s degrees: Engineering, Business Administration, Tourism, Medicine, Audiovisual Communication and Psychology (UJI), Psychology (UV), Labour Relations (Burgos), Medicine, Gastronomy and Business Administration (UCH-CEU), as well as master’s degree students (Marketing at the UJI and Occupational Therapy at the UV).

The research has its origin in a group of educational improvement of the UJI called «Origami». According to Estrada, «we have been observing for some time that our students have very technical training, but they are not trained in socioemotional skills». Added to this concern is «a new business paradigm, which demands profiles with socioemotional skills with the ability to work in a team, assertiveness, leadership and communication». Faced with this demand, says Estrada, «we have introduced socioemotional skills through workshops and experts in our subjects, because leading companies are looking for more than just a curriculum and languages».

As Estrada explains, «in the academic context, the idea that we were all going to change because of this COVID-19 experience has not been the case, given that each student has mainly managed his or her fears and uncertainties and has not worried too much about his or her classmates». Likewise, the authors of the article note that «with the coldness of the interaction through the cameras, the non-verbal communication part was lost, in addition to the limitations caused for many students by the type of device they had at hand to work with: there were people who only had mobile phones».