This study investigated how the tendency to express forgiveness, purpose, and religiosity in a free-response essay relates to emotional intelligence and self-concept in 89 5th-graders (mean age = 10.84 years) from an urban public school district in New Jersey. Readers coded essays for expressions of forgiveness, purpose, and religiosity using originally developed rubrics. These data were compared with self-reports on scales of emotional intelligence and self-concept. It was hypothesized that expressions of the predictor variables would correlate positively with emotional intelligence and self-concept. In contrast to expressions of purpose, which were common among students, expressions of forgiveness and religiosity were infrequent. Furthermore, forgiveness was not significantly related to either criterion variable; purpose was positively related to self-concept (but not to emotional intelligence); and religiosity was negatively related to emotional intelligence (but not to self-concept). Correlational analyses by gender revealed a possible trend toward more robust relationships being observed among females than males; however, the differences between the correlation coefficients observed among males and females failed to reach statistical significance. Several of the study's unanticipated findings suggest the need for further empirical work investigating the psychological correlates of these constructs in children.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Psychology (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health