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31-07-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 12/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 12/2019

Exploring Emotional Intelligence and IQ as Predictors of Success of Foster Care Alumni

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 12/2019
Tom D. Kennedy, Yuri Flach, David Detullio, Danielle H. Millen, Nicole Englebert, W. Alex Edmonds
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The most common reason for foster care placement is child maltreatment. Sadly, once in the foster care system over 17% of children in the United States continue to experience multiple forms of maltreatment. After they “age out”, these alumni are particularly vulnerable to a host of adverse situations, such as low educational success and homelessness. The primary aim of this study was to explore individual characteristics that could predict the quality of life and level of distress of foster care alumni. Specifically, we were interested in the predictive ability of emotional intelligence (EI) and general intelligence (IQ) on quality of life and distress.


Two multiple regression models were evaluated for the primary analyses. Both models included general intelligence and emotional intelligence as predictors, with one model containing quality of life and the other model level of distress as the criterion variables.


The analyses demonstrated that general intelligence was not a significant predictor of quality of life or level of distress when controlling for emotional intelligence. In contrast, emotional intelligence was a significant predictor of improved quality of life and decreased level of distress when controlling for general intelligence.


Emotional intelligence appears to be a characteristic that is amenable to change and a predictor of positive outcome among foster care alumni. Moreover, emotional intelligence may bolster resiliency against the higher levels of instability and stress experienced by foster care children.

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