Predicting stress: an investigation into the affects of personality, emotional intelligence, coping and subjective well-being
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Stress affects everyone at some stage in their lives, whether it is in the form of small everyday hassles or major life-changing events. Previous research has shown that many variables relate to stress, and can influence how stressed a person feels. This study was devised to examine how some of these variables predict stress, specifically personality, emotional intelligence, coping styles and subjective well-being. 238 participants, all students at the University of Edinburgh, completed self-report measures of all these variables and had to report their levels of perceived stress at the time of the original study, and at the time of a short follow-up study in the lead up to examinations where stress was expected to be higher. From these results, correlations were carried out to investigate the interconnecting relationships between all the variables measured in this study. A series of hierarchical multiple regressions were performed to highlight the predictive ability of the variables with perceived stress as the outcome variable. The results showed that Neuroticism, Extraversion, aspects of emotional intelligence (General Mood and Stress Management), coping style (particularly Emotion-oriented coping) and subjective well-being all predict the level of perceived stress in an individual. The differences in stress levels between the original study and the follow-up study were not significant. Gender differences were also examined and found to be especially relevant to the coping style adopted by an individual. These results correspond to existing evidence in the field of stress research and provide insight into stress predictors.