Examining the Associations of the Managing Emotions of Others Scale (MEOS) with Personality, Empathy, Theory of Mind, and Alexithymia
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The overwhelming majority of research into the way individuals manage emotions is focused on positive strategies and outcomes. Currently, little research exists on the dark side of Emotional Intelligence (EI), and the way in which people may manipulate the emotions of others for self-serving purposes. The Managing Emotions of Others Scale (MEOS) (Austin & O’Donnell, 2013) assesses both prosocial and non-prosocial emotional management strategies. This study aimed to validate the MEOS, explore the six factor structure, and examine associations with the HEXACO personality scale, the IRI Empathy scale, Theory of Mind and Alexithymia. A sample (N = 310) of mainly university students completed an online questionnaire. The factor structure of the MEOS was supported, and the subscales were found to have high internal reliabilities. There were strong positive correlations between the prosocial Enhance MEOS factor and all HEXACO personality dimensions, and also with empathy. The non-prosocial MEOS pair strongly negatively correlated with Honesty/Humility, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. The Poor Skills factor was related to Alexithymia, and could be used in a clinical setting to identify individuals with low trait EI. A regression analysis showed that scores on the HEXACO are strong predictors for MEOS scores, suggesting that personality affects our choice of emotional management strategy. The MEOS was not found to be more powerful in predicting ability EI (Eyes Test scores) than the IRI empathy scale, however it does offer insight into the understudied dark side of EI, and the potential non-prosocial strategies that individuals use.