The right kind of smart: Emotional intelligence's relationship to cognitive status in community-dwelling older adults

Odelyah Saad, Leehu Zysberg, Jeremia Heinik, Ron Ben-Itzhak, Anna Zisberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To examine whether emotional intelligence (EI) is associated with cognitive function (CF) in a sample of community-dwelling, non-demented elderly out-patients.Design: Correlational cross-sectional study.Setting: Two memory clinics in an urban community in central Israel.Participants: Individuals age 60 and older without dementia, recruited from two memory clinics (N = 151).Measurements: Health history was obtained from medical charts. All participants underwent tests measuring CF, basic and instrumental function, general mental ability (GMA), EI, and depression.Results: Mean age of the participants was 79 years (SD = 7.00) with 96 females (63.6%). Mean score for Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was 21.62 (SD = 3.09) and for EI was 14.08 (SD = 3.30). Linear multiple regression analysis was conducted to examine associations of CF with EI while controlling for gender, age, education, GMA, and Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI). Age, education, GMA, and CCI were significant correlates of CF and accounted for 31.1% of the variance [F(7,143) = 10.8, p<0.01] in CF. EI was added in the second block and was the factor most strongly associated with CF, explaining an additional 9.1% (a total of 40.2%) of the variance in CF [F(8,142) = 13.2, p<0.01].Conclusion: This study is the first to show the association between EI and CF in older adults. Future prospective studies are needed to explicate the possibility of EI as a protective factor against cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1241-1247
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Cheryl Spencer Nursing Research Institute and the Center for Research and Study of Aging. The sponsors had no role in the design, methods, analysis, or preparation of this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 International Psychogeriatric Association.


  • cognitive function
  • emotional intelligence
  • older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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