EQ-i Overview



Description of the Bar-On EQ-i, EQ-360 and EQ-i:YV

Bar-On, R. (1997). The Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory™ (EQ-i™): Technical manual. Toronto, Canada: Multi-Health Systems.


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The Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i®) is the first scientifically validated and most widely used Emotional Intelligence assessment in the world. Based on more than 20 years of research worldwide, the EQ-i examines an individual’s social and emotional strengths and weaknesses. 

Respondents self-report on their life and workplace performance in 15 key areas of emotional skill that have been proven to contribute to proficiency in complex business activities such as conflict resolution and planning. By identifying the areas that need improvement, the client can immediately begin developing those areas. At the same time, areas where the client excels can be leveraged to their full potential to maximize effectiveness in daily tasks. 

The EQ-i is a self-report measure of emotionally and socially intelligent behavior that provides an estimate of emotional-social intelligence. The EQ-i is the first measure of its kind to be published by a psychological test publisher, the first such measure to be peer-reviewed in the Buros Mental Measurement Yearbook, and the most widely used measure of emotional-social intelligence since it was first published in 1996.

The individual’s responses render a total EQ score as well as scores on the following 15 scales in addition to the validity indicators, which is described in detail below:

INTRAPERSONAL (self-awareness and self-expression)

EQ-i 2.0 Model Picture.jpg
  • Self-Regard:  To accurately perceive, understand and accept oneself
  • Emotional Self-Awareness: To be aware of and understand one’s emotions
  • Assertiveness:  To effectively and constructively express one’s emotions and oneself
  • Independence: To be self-reliant and free of emotional dependency on others
  • Self-Actualization:  To strive to achieve personal goals and actualize one’s potential

INTERPERSONAL (social awareness and interpersonal relationship)

  • Empathy: To be aware of and understand how others feel
  • Social Responsibility: To identify with one’s social group and cooperate with others
  • Interpersonal Relationship: To establish mutually satisfying relationships and relate well with others

STRESS MANAGEMENT (emotional management and regulation)

  • Stress Tolerance: To effectively and constructively manage emotions
  • Impulse Control: To effectively and constructively control emotions

ADAPTABILITY (change management)

  • Reality-Testing: To objectively validate one’s feelings and thinking with external reality
  • Flexibility: To adapt and adjust one’s feelings and thinking to new situations
  • Problem-Solving: To effectively solve problems of a personal and interpersonal nature

GENERAL MOOD (self-motivation)

  • Optimism: To be positive and look at the brighter side of life
  • Happiness: To feel content with oneself, others and life in general

The EQ-i™ includes the following four validity indicators:

  • Omission Rate (number of omitted responses) when it is completed offline
  • Inconsistency Index (degree of response inconsistency)
  • Positive Impression (tendency toward exaggerated positive responding)
  • Negative Impression (tendency toward exaggerated negative responding)

The original version of this psychometric instrument had a built-in correction factor that automatically adjusts the scale scores based on the Positive Impression and Negative Impression scale scores. This is an important feature for self-report measures in that it reduces the distorting effects of social response bias (such as “faking good” and “faking bad”), thereby, increasing the accuracy of the results obtained. The effectiveness of this feature has been confirmed by the fairly high degree of overall correlation (R=.69) between observer ratings of the behavior assessed by the EQ-i and the scores of 185 individuals who completed this instrument. The findings of this study are summarized in the Bar-On EQ-360: Technical Manual and will be briefly discussed below when describing the EQ-360. Moreover, findings from the same study empirically demonstrate that the difference between the self-report and other-observer (360 degree multi-rator) assessment of EI is negligible when using the EQ-i.

Raw scores on the EQ-i are automatically tabulated and converted into standard scores based on a mean of 100 and standard deviations of 15. This scoring system resembles that which is used by cognitive intelligence tests that generate an IQ (or Intelligence Quotient), which is what I had in mind when I coined the term “EQ” (“Emotional Quotient”) during my doctoral studies in1985. Average to above average scores on the EQ-i suggest that the respondent is effective in emotional and social functioning, meaning that he or she is most likely emotionally and socially intelligent. The higher the scores, the more positive the prediction for effective functioning in meeting environmental demands and pressures. On the other hand, an inability to be effective in performing well and the possible existence of emotional, social and/or behavioral problems are suggested by low scores. Significantly low scores on the following scales indicate the potential for serious difficulties in coping on a daily basis: Stress Tolerance, Impulse Control, Social Responsibility, Reality-Testing, and Problem-Solving.