Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Dr. Donald Saklofske


According to the Dimensional Comparison Theory (DCT), individuals’ self-concepts of abilities are influenced not only by external sources of evaluation within the same domain, but also internal comparisons of abilities across different domains, resulting in negative contrast effects for self-concepts in dissimilar domains and positive assimilation effects for self-concepts in similar domains. These dimensional comparisons have been primarily tested with academic domains to date, yet social-emotional learning is an important complement to academic learning. The present study sought to extend the DCT to Emotional Intelligence (EI) self-concepts in a sample of 1,069 Canadian children and adolescents, aged 9-18 years. Using parent appraisals as an external source of evaluation, and the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory: Youth Version as a measure of EI self-concept, four EI domains were tested for dimensional comparisons: Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Stress Management, and Adaptability. Age and gender were tested as moderators. Structural equation modelling revealed contrast effects between Interpersonal and Adaptability domains, and assimilation effects between Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Stress Management domains. Effects were only significant in the younger age groups (9-12 and 13-15 years), suggesting a weaker overall effect of dimensional comparisons on EI self-concepts of older adolescents (16-18 years). Assimilation effects were more prevalent in boys, and their EI self-concepts were less differentiated than those of girls, particularly at the younger ages. The results generally support the application of the DCT to EI domains, raising important considerations for educational programs and opening up new possibilities for future research in the field.