Predicting Career Decision-Making Difficulties: The Role of Trait Emotional Intelligence, Positive and Negative Emotions.
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The current study evaluated the relationship between positive and negative emotions, trait emotional intelligence (trait EI) and difficulties in career decision-making. We examined whether trait EI could predict career indecisiveness, a type of career decision-making difficulty, over and above the "Big Five" personality traits. We also examined the mechanism through which trait EI affected career indecisiveness by investigating the mediating role of positive and negative emotions. Survey data were collected from a sample of 600 undergraduate students in a university in southwest United States, who completed questionnaires measuring trait EI, positive emotions, negative emotions, personality traits, and career indecisiveness. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that trait EI accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in career indecisiveness that was not explained by the "Big Five" personality traits. The parallel mediation analysis revealed that positive and negative emotions partially mediated the relationship between trait EI and career indecisiveness. Using the framework of Fredrickson's (2001) broaden and build theory of positive emotions, the study provides empirical evidence explaining the mechanism through which trait EI helps individuals cope better with challenging situations in life. Trait EI aids the elicitation of positive emotions and the down-regulation of negative emotions, which, in turn, broaden the range of thoughts and actions that come to mind, helping individuals function more effectively in the context of career decision-making. Implications for career counseling and opportunities for further research are discussed.