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Emotional intelligence and acculturation.


Migration has become a central issue in the public discussion in Western European countries and the interest in acculturation research has strongly increased in recent years. Frequently asked questions are, why are some migrants more successful than others in meeting acculturative demands, what determines the choice of acculturation styles, and which factors contribute to an explanation of the differences in acculturation experience and in acculturation outcome?

Acculturation research has identified a number of important variables that are supposed to determine acculturative behavior, such as culture of origin and that of the immigration country, past socio-cultural experiences, beliefs, attitudes, values, coping-styles and personality traits (Schmitz & Berry, 2011). Some of the most relevant variables considered to have a moderating influence on the acculturation process are mentioned in Figure 1. Surprisingly, emotional intelligence (EI) has not attracted much attention in previous acculturation research, despite the fact that EI has been identified as a most central variable in various fields of psychology (Fernandez-Berrocal & Extremera, 2006; Petrides & Furnham, 2001). Therefore, EI can be predicted to influence both, the choice of a specific acculturation style as well as to have a moderating effect on the acculturation outcome, such as psychological adjustment. In the next sections, we will, first, consider acculturation styles (Berry, 1980), then, we will discuss how EI could be related to acculturation styles and acculturation outcomes. Next, we will report findings obtained with two immigrant samples, Turks and North-Africans, living in Germany that shed light on the relationships of EI with acculturation styles, acculturation experience and psychological adjustment.

Acculturation styles

Persons coming in contact with a new culture can experience this situation as challenging and sometimes as stressful, particularly in the initial stage (e.g., Berry, 1980). Additionally, cultural stress can be expected to be particularly high when the culture of origin differs a lot from that of the immigration country. Immigrants may try to deal with this challenging situation by applying coping-styles that have worked out for them in the past. However, if these coping-styles do not fit the demands in the acculturation context, migrants need to modify them, or to acquire new styles. Help and proposals how to deal with the daily challenges of life may be provided by both, their own cultural group and by the mainstream society of the immigration country.


Types of adaptation or coping, acquired and applied during the process of acculturation, are called acculturation styles. They refer to the different ways how individuals or groups adapt to a new culture. This is why acculturation styles are considered to depend, in part, on the experiences an immigrant makes (cf. Figure 1). For instance, perceived discrimination will not facilitate efforts to come in contact with people of the mainstream society. But it is plausible, that acculturation styles also affect the experiences a migrant makes, so that reciprocal relationships may exist in reality. Various types of acculturative styles are discussed in mass- media, public opinion polls and political discourses, such as 'multiculturalism', 'integration', 'assimilation', 'segregation', 'isolation', 'ghettoization', etc. But these terms are not well-defined, and they are sometimes used in a contradictory way. Berry (1980) proposed a theoretical model of acculturation styles which proved to be very helpful in this respect, and which has become the most widely used taxonomy in acculturation research (see Schmitz & Berry, 2011, for a recent validation study).

The acculturation model specifies four acculturation styles that are jointly determined by one's orientations toward one's own ethnic group and by one's orientation toward other groups, in particular, toward the society of the immigration country. According to Berry, dimension 1 describes a relative preference for maintaining one's heritage culture and identity, whereas dimension 2 defines a relative preference for having contact with and participating in the larger society along with other ethno-cultural groups (Berry, 1980). Each dimension is theorized as a continuum, but for reasons of convenience, four acculturation styles are usually distinguished by either a high or a low value on each of the two dimensions (Figure 2).


Acculturation styles can be assessed by various methods, including expert- ratings, interviews, observational data, and by questionnaires, such as the "Acculturation-Attitude-Scale" (AAS; Berry, Phinney, Sam, & Vedder, 2006). Findings from exploratory factor analyses as well as from confirmatory model testing converge in the interpretation that the four acculturation styles are best described as moderately related but independent factors (e.g., Schmitz & Berry, 2011). In this sense, the way how one combines one's attitudes towards two cultures is more than the sum of one's relationship with each culture assessed separately. For instance, Integration is qualitatively different from only accepting two cultures; instead, it denotes that one forges a new identity that builds on elements of both cultures. It was also found that the structural relationships between acculturation styles are comparable, irrespective of whether they are assessed as acculturation attitudes in immigrant samples or whether they are assessed as acculturation expectations in the mainstream society (see Figure 3 for an example with a heterogeneous immigrant sample living in Germany; adapted from Schmitz & Berry, 2011; [chi square](df)=383.46 (98), RMSEA=.06, GFI=.94, AGFI=.91, CFI=.91).


Personality and acculturation

Research shows that acculturation styles are consistently correlated with personality traits and cognitive styles (e.g., Schmitz, 1994, 2004; Ward, Leong, & Low, 2004). Figure 4 gives an overview of previous research findings, and illustrates that each acculturation style is characterized by a different pattern of relations with personality variables. The majority of the variables considered here are basic personality traits as specified in trait models of personality (e.g., Eysenck & Eysenck, 1985; Zuckerman, 2008). In the following, we will briefly summarize relevant findings, because basic dimensions of temperament are related to the processing of emotional information. This may help to predict, how EI is associated with acculturation styles.


Persons preferring Integration as an acculturation style are more emotionally stable, less anxious and less aggressive compared with other people. They are also more sociable, more agreeable, less impulsive, and show a higher degree of sensation seeking, are more open-minded and active. They feel safer, are more interested in exploring new situations, they are field-independent, and their orientation is more individualistic. Given that some of these traits actually denote the mastery of emotion regulation, and that some of these variables have already been shown to be related with measures of EI (e.g., Schmitz & Berry, 2011), it can be concluded that immigrants high in EI will have a preference for Integration as an acculturation style. Additionally, it seems to be reasonable to assume that migrants high in EI are neither overwhelmed by their own emotions nor those shown by others. This ability to regulate emotions can be beneficial to cope with the stress caused by contradictory expectations maintained in different cultural groups. Quite obviously, this capacity is a prerequisite of successful Integration.

Assimilators usually show a higher degree of anxiety than those preferring Integration, but they are also agreeable (sociable), friendly, and not aggressive. Their high degree of activity helps them in their effort to assimilate to the culture of the larger society they are confronted with. Their sociable and friendly attitudes facilitate coming into contact with members of the host-society, communicating with them, and joining their activities. In other words, with the exception of their somewhat increased level of anxiety, their remaining personality characteristics rule likely that they may possess a high level of EI. Therefore, immigrants with high emotional intelligence may consider Assimilation as an alternative way of acculturation.

Migrants highly valuing Separation as an acculturation styles usually reveal higher degrees of neuroticism and its defining components, such as high emotionality, anxiety, lack of self-assurance, and a week self-esteem. As they are less active, frequently less sociable and agreeable, they often find it difficult to deal effectively with people of the host-society as well as with persons of other socio-cultural groups. At the same time, a high degree of closed-mindedness (opposite pole of openness) makes it more difficult for them to modify their belief and behavior-systems. In consequence, they usually prefer to stay with their established cultural system, and they prefer contact with their own ethnic group while avoiding close relationships with persons of the larger society. Separation is also associated with the feeling of being discriminated against and hostile attitudes against the mainstream society. Some of these personality variables clearly indicate impaired control of emotions, and should thus be inversely correlated with EI.

A strong preference for Marginalization is rare. However, those persons indicating somewhat higher levels of acceptance than other participants usually have higher values on a personality characteristic Zuckerman (2008) referred to as "unsocialized-impulsive-sensation-seeking." They also show higher degrees of anxiety, aggressiveness, lack of interpersonal trust and closed-mindedness. Their coping techniques are usually avoidance-oriented and they show a preference for distraction. Quite obviously, the mentioned personality characteristics should be rather associated with low emotional intelligence. Therefore, we predicted a negative correlation of EI with Marginalization.

Emotional intelligence

The exact status and relationships of basic personality traits and EI are controversially discussed (Bracket & Mayer, 2003; Schmitz & Schmitz, 2011). But most likely, EI can be considered as closely related to some of the basic dimensions in a hierarchical personality structure (Petrides & Furnham, 2001). Given its relationships in a broader personality context as well as its specificity in the domain of emotional regulation, it is likely that EI influences the acculturation process at different points, and particularly, that it has an impact on the acculturation outcome (e.g., well-being). However, its relationships will critically depend on how EI and its subcomponents are conceptualized and assessed. Trait emotional intelligence (EI) is frequently assessed with the "Trait-Meta-Mood-Scale" (TMMS-24; Fernandez Berrocal, Extremera & Ramos, 2004; Salovey, Mayer, Goldman, Turvey, Palfai, & Pennebaker, 1995). This self-report questionnaire yields an EI total score, and additionally has three subscales relating to components of emotional intelligence: (1) Attention (towards one's emotions), (2) Clarity (concerning one's emotions), and Repair (capacity to interrupt negative emotions and to promote positive emotions). The three components of EI correspond with sensitivity for emotions and emotion regulation at successive stages of information processing. Attention is necessary in the first place, whereas Clarity and particularly Repair may come into play once emotional arousal is detected. Note, however, that Attention is ambivalent: On the one hand, a certain degree of emotional sensitivity may be required in order to call for an adequate emotion regulation. On the other hand, an exaggerated sensitivity towards negative affect is maladaptive, particularly when one's control capacities do not suffice (see also Schmitz & Schmitz, 2011, for a discussion).

Previous research with a German adaptation of the TMMS-24 has shown a clear 3-factorial structure, with Attention, Clarity, and Repair identifies as the underlying factors (Schmitz & Schmitz, 2011). Additionally, the structure and the relationships of the German TMMS-24 were found highly comparable with findings obtained with the instrument in other countries, e.g., in Spain (Fernandez-Berrocal, Extremera & Ramos, 2004; see also Schmitz & Schmitz, 2009, b). The high degree of correspondence between samples collected in different cultures, both, in terms of structure as well as in terms of relationships, rules likely that the instrument captures universal human control functions across different cultures- -an assumption that was tested in the present study, among others, as described below.

Aims of the study

Previous research has shown that the structure of the facets of trait emotional intelligence as assessed with the TMMS is comparable in a homogenous German sample and in a mixed sample of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe as well as Turks living in Germany (Schmitz & Schmitz, 2011). One aim of the current study was to test the generalizability of the structure in cultural groups that may differ more strongly in cultural norms such as emotional display rules. To this end we investigated a homogenous Turkish and a homogenous North-African sample. Another aim of the study was to investigate the relationships of emotional intelligence and the preference for a specific acculturation style. Based on previous research (e.g., Schmitz, 1994, 2004; Ward, Leong, & Low, 2004), it can be predicted that (2a) participants high in EI will also highly value Integration as an acculturation style, (2b) closely followed by Assimilation. In contrast, (2c) Separation and, particularly, (2d) Marginalization should be characterized by low emotional intelligence. Additionally, not only acculturation attitudes but also acculturation behavior should be related to EI. We also intended to test the relationship of EI with psychological adjustment and well-being. It can be predicted that EI is positively related with psychological adjustment, such as well-being and the absence of negative moods. Additionally, migrants high in EI should report less perceived discrimination and less feelings of unfairness. The latter predictions were motivated by the view that immigrants higher in EI may behave in a highly socially competent way, thereby reducing the likelihood of being actually discriminated against. Additionally, the sensitivity to detect rejection as well as the capacity to down regulate elicited negative affect can be expected to moderate the level of experienced discrimination.



Data were collected with immigrants and people with a migration background in the Western part of the Federal Republic of Germany. We admitted participants who had been living in Germany for sufficient time to come in contact with and to experience the culture of the mainstream society, and who were fluent in the German language. First generation immigrants had been living in Germany for a minimum of 15 years at the time of data collection, second generation immigrants were born and grew up in Germany.

Sample 1 consisted of 349 immigrants from Turkey and from North-Africa (countries of the Maghreb region, i.e., Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco). The Turkish subsample consisted of 102 males and 95 females, the North-African subsample included 63 males and 87 females. The average age for Turks was 22.8 years, and 23.4 years for North-Africans. In sample 2, there were 65 persons (40 males, 25 females; average age 21.3 years; 44 participants were Turks, 21 North-Africans (from the Maghreb region). These participants were not identical with persons of sample.


Emotional intelligence and its subcomponents were assessed with the "Trait-Meta- Mood Scale" (TMMS-24; Fernandez-Berrocal, Extremera & Ramos, 2004; Salovey, Mayer, Goldman, Turvey, Palfai, and Pennebaker, 1995; adapted into German by Schmitz & Schmitz, 2011). The TMMS-24 contains the subscales (1) Attention (towards one's emotions), (2) Clarity (concerning one's emotions), and (3) Repair (capacity to interrupt negative emotions and to promote positive emotions). In sample 2 we employed an abbreviated version of the instrument, the TMMS-15 with 5 items per scale.

Acculturation styles were assessed with the German version of the "Acculturation Attitude Scale" (AAS; Schmitz & Berry, 2011). Each of the AAS scales comprises four items, referring to the domains tradition maintenance, friends, social activities, marriage, music, and language (see Appendix A for details).

Wellbeing was assessed as a marker of psychological adjustment (i.e., a positive acculturation outcome; cf. Figure 1). Three instruments were used to capture aspects of subjective wellbeing: the five-item "Satisfaction with Life Scale" (SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985), the four-item "Subjective-Happiness-Scale" (SHS; Lyubomirsky & Lepper, 1999), and the 21-item "Beck Depression Inventory" (BDI; Beck, Steer, & Garbin, 1988), with the latter being an inverse marker of wellbeing.

Perceived discrimination and Perceived unfairness were captured as negative acculturation experiences. Participants indicated their perceived level of discrimination by rating to what extent they agreed with the statement "I feel discriminated by Germans" with help of a 5-point Likert scale (1= 'not at all' to 5= 'very much'). Perceived unfairness was assessed with the Unfairness-Scale (H) which consists of five items from the Immigrant Adolescence Questionnaire (Berry, et al., 2006; see Appendix B for details).

Acculturation behavior was assessed by asking participants to rate on a 5-point Likert scale to what extent they agreed with six statements describing specific behavior relevant in the phase of acculturation. These included activities, such as 'striving for contact with Germans', 'exploration of new situations', and 'use of the German language' (see Appendix B for details).


Participants in sample 1 were administered a battery consisting of TMMS-24, AAS, SWLS, SHS, and BDI; details are provided in instruments section. In sample 2, the following tests were applied: TMMS-15, AAS, Unfairness-Scale, and Acculturation Behavior Ratings.

Results and discussion


The aim of the present contribution was to investigate the influence of emotional intelligence on the acculturation attitudes, acculturation behavior, acculturation experiences and psychological adjustment. But as a first step, we checked that the TMMS-24 works well as a measurement instrument in the current immigrant samples. Next, we addressed the relationships between EI and its components with acculturation styles. We investigated how EI relates to adjustment variables, such as wellbeing. Then, we addressed correlates of vital importance in the phase of acculturation: perceived discrimination and perceived unfairness, and finally, the actual acculturation behavior shown by the participant.

Reliabilities of the employed instruments

Internal consistencies of all scales used in the present study were highly satisfactory. Cronbach's alpha for the scales and subscales of the different short forms of the Trait-Meta-Mood Scale are detailed in Table 2, separate for the Turkish and the North-African subsamples. Cronbach's alpha of the Acculturation Attitude scales were in the range of 62 to .88. Acculturation behavior was analyzed on the level of specific behavioral descriptors, as these may capture different aspects of acculturation behavior. The perceived Unfairness Scale had an alpha of .96. Also the well-being scales displayed satisfactory internal consistency in the present sample: the Satisfaction with Life Scale (alpha = .84), the Subjective Happines Scale (alpha = .81), and the Beck Depression Inventory (alpha = .89).

Structure of the emotional intelligence scales

The TMMS-24 was previously shown to possess highly satisfactory psychometric properties and comparable loadings and correlations with criterion variables in different countries (Fernandez-Berrocal, et al., 2004; Schmitz & Schmitz, 2011; see also Salovey, et al., 1995). This suggests that emotional intelligence and its components are universal human abilities of emotion regulation that exit across cultures and that can be adequately assessed with the same instrument. But, it has not been demonstrated that the instrument is also suited for immigrants from cultures that differ a lot (e.g., in emotional display rules) from those Western societies in which the instrument has been shown to work.

So, as a first step, we investigated the structural properties of the TMMS-24 in our Turkish and North-African samples. To this end, we entered all 24 items a principal components analysis, separately for Turkish and for the North-African participants. According to the scree-plot criterion, three factors were extracted that accounted for 57 and 52 percent of the total variance in both cultural groups. An orthogonal varimax rotation led to the most consistent pattern of loadings. The three factors were clearly identified as Attention, Clarity, and Repair. It turned out that all items loaded substantially on their theoretically assigned factors, resulting in perfect hit rates for the Turkish subsample and an almost perfect hit rate for the North-African participants, with the exception of one item (REP-7) that did not load substantially on any of the three factors. The pattern of loadings was similar for both cultural groups (see Table 1). Additionally, highly comparable patterns of loadings were found, when the total sample was subdivided into female and male participants.

As highly comparable structures emerged in all subsamples, we also conducted a factor analyses across all 349 participants. In the merged total sample, all items expected to load on Attention had loadings between .60 and .87 on the first factor. The second factor was identified as Clarity with loadings of the corresponding items between .50 and .84. The last factor accounted for variance in the Repair items, with loadings in the range of .55 to .84 (with the exception of item REP-7 that loaded .30). Hit rates were perfect in the total sample.

Next, we computed internal consistencies for the TMMS-24 total score as well as for the three component scales. As can be inferred from Table 2, Cronbach's alphas were high and thus indicated good reliabilities of all scales in the present samples and subsamples. To conclude, the TMMS-24 was shown to possess highly satisfactory psychometric properties in the present immigrant samples, both in terms of structure as well as internal consistencies of the scales. Findings were further comparable with those previously obtained with the instrument with participants of the German mainstream society (Schmitz & Schmitz, 2011).

One additional aim of study 2 (corresponding with sample 2, reported in more detail below) was to develop a further abbreviated version of the TMMS. One motive for this was that an even shorter version of the scale would make the instrument even more economic and, therefore, more appealing for large-scale research batteries. In fact, all scales consisted of highly internally consistent items, thus allowing further shortening. A more practical reason for reducing the item number was the relatively small sample size in study 2 (N= 65) which possibly does not allow to enter a large numbers of independent variables the planned structural analyses. Based on the previously reported factor analyses and the independent data available from the Schmitz and Schmitz (2011) study, we selected the items that proved most specific for the three components of emotional intelligence (items # 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 for Attention; items # 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 for Clarity; items # 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 for Repair; see Table 8 for their structural properties). Scores for the EI total score and the three component scales for the abbreviated 15-item version of the TMMS are given in the lower part of Table 2.

Emotional intelligence and acculturation attitudes

Next, we investigated the relationships of emotional intelligence with the valuation of the four different acculturation styles as defined by Berry (1980): Integration, Assimilation, Separation, and Marginalization. These self-reports of valuation of the different acculturation styles in the immigrant samples are considered as capturing acculturation attitudes. First, we correlated acculturation attitudes with the EI total score, but then, we also had a closer look at the relationships of its defining components. This seemed to be indicated, because previous research has consistently shown that the component scores are differently related with criterion variables (e.g., Fernandez-Berrocal, et al., 2004; Salovey, et al., 1995; Schmitz & Schmitz, 2011): Clarity and Repair are usually positively related with desirable outcome variables (e.g., positive mood states), whereas Attention frequently shows correlations in the opposite direction. As discussed, the inversed relationships for Attention may result from a maladaptive attentional bias towards negative emotions in some cases, and that this perceptual bias is also captured by the Attention items. In contrast, Clarity and Repair denote the mastery of emotion regulation; therefore, we also computed a composite score (Cla-Rep, see Table 3) on the basis of all items from the latter two scales as a joint measure of the (perceived) efficiency of emotion regulation.

Table 3 displays all correlations of emotional intelligence scores with the self-reported valuation of the four acculturation styles, separate for the Turkish and for the North-African subsamples. As predicted, there was a positive correlation of the EI total score with Integration and to a somewhat lesser extent with Assimilation. But, correlations were zero or even negative with Separation and especially with Marginalization. These correlations were about comparable for both cultural groups.

There was also an informative pattern of correlations in the EI components scores: Attention was generally positively correlated with Integration, Assimilation, and Separation, but not with Marginalization. The positive correlations were somewhat more pronounced for Assimilation and Separation than for Integration. In contrast, Clarity, Repair, and their composite score showed a positive correlation with Integration and Assimilation, but they showed a negative correlation with Separation and Marginalization. The strongest relationship of all was the positive correlation of the composite score of Clarity and Repair (Cla-Rep; considered an indicator of emotion regulation) with Integration (in the high of r= .57 and r= .63 for Turks and North-Africans, respectively). Again, all relationships were highly comparable for both groups of immigrants.

The pattern of correlations, thus, suggests that participants' preference for a specific acculturation style is consistently related with components of emotional intelligence: Integration and Assimilation show a comparable pattern, as they are positively correlated with all three components of EI. However, Integration is characterized by only a moderate positive correlation with the ambivalent Attention component, whereas this correlation is stronger for Assimilation. In contrast, the two components considered as capturing emotion regulation, Clarity and Repair, show a stronger positive correlation with the valuation of Integration as an acculturation style as compared with Assimilation. Also Separation and Marginalization show a pattern that is comparable: But only the valuation of Separation is moderately correlated with Attention, whereas both acculturation attitudes are negatively related with Clarity and Repair.

Results thereby support the predicted relationships of emotional intelligence with the preference of specific acculturation styles: To summarize, Integration is most highly related with EI, particularly because of its strong relationships with emotion regulation capacities. Assimilation follows closely, but it is also characterized by its relation with the ambivalent Attention component. Separation and Marginalization are inversely related wit EI, because of their inversed relationships with Clarity and Repair.

Another way to describe these relationships in a more parsimonious way is to enter the individual markers of EI components and each of the four acculturation styles separately a joint factor analysis. Results are displayed in Table 4: A three factor solution was accepted in all cases according to the scree-plot criterion, and factors subsequently Varimax rotated. The upper part of Table 4 displays the range of loadings of the TMMS-24 items. The pattern of loadings clearly identified the three factors as Attention, Clarity and Repair. It can be inferred from the lower part of Figure 4, how these three factors "determine" the four acculturation styles: Integration is characterized by Clarity and Repair, whereas Assimilation is characterized by Attention. Separation has loadings on all three factors, a positive one on Attention, and negative ones on Clarity and on Repair. Marginalization only loads moderately negative on the Repair factor. The discrete pattern of loadings corroborates the view that the preference for a specific acculturation style is characterized by individual differences in all components of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence and wellbeing

Wellbeing is considered a positive acculturation outcome, as specified in the acculturation model in Figure 1. We predicted that EI has a positive effect on acculturation outcome. Therefore, we investigated the relationships of EI with different variables of emotional wellbeing: satisfaction with life, happiness, and the absence of negative mood (e.g., depression). Findings are displayed in Table 5, separately for the Turkish and for the North-African subsamples. As predicted, the EI total score was positively correlated with wellbeing (satisfaction with live) and with happiness, but EI was negatively correlated with depression.

There was also a consistent pattern in the component scores: Clarity and Repair showed moderate correlations in the same direction as the EI total score, but the correlations were generally more pronounced for Repair than for Clarity. This suggests that particularly the Repair component is relevant for the investigated emotional outcome variables. This finding points to the role of active emotion regulation capacities. The even higher correlations obtained for the more heterogeneous composite score of Clarity and Repair possibly results from its higher reliability.

In contrast to all other component scores, Attention had a negative correlation with wellbeing and happiness, and a positive correlation with depression. The pattern of correlations obtained with the TMMS-24 and the other wellbeing scales in the current immigrant samples thus resembled those ones previously found with participants of the German mainstream society (Schmitz & Schmitz, 2011). However, the correlation analyses reported in this contribution are not well suited to address the question, how all variables are causally related. As reported in the last section, EI components are correlated with the preference for a specific acculturation style. In turn, acculturation styles were shown to be differently related with acculturation outcome variables (e.g., Schmitz & Berry, 2011). In the current samples, Integration and Assimilation showed positive correlations with life satisfaction and happiness (in the range r=.23 to r= .30) and negative correlations with depression (r= - .17 to r= -.28). This may hint at an indirect relationship, mediated by the preference for a specific acculturation style. However, given that correlations between EI components and emotional outcome variables were observed in a comparable height in the German samples (Schmitz & Berry, 2011) in which acculturation processes should not play a role, most of the effect of EI on psychological adjustment variables may be direct.

Emotional intelligence, perceived discrimination and unfairness

So far, we reported the correlations of EI with emotional wellbeing variables in the basis of the total sample (all scales reported so far had been administered in study 1 and study 2). In the following, we will report findings from study 2, in which additional variables were assessed that are of specific relevance for immigrants and participants with a migration background: These included perceived discrimination and perceived unfairness as well as reports of more specific acculturation behavior actually shown by the participant.

Perceived discrimination was assessed as the personal experience of discrimination as reported by the participant. In contrast, items of the unfairness scale captured the participants' belief that their cultural group is discriminated against by members of the mainstream society. These variables can be considered important, because they may have manifold direct and indirect consequences for the immigrant. These may include participation in occupational as well as in free-time activities, and, as a most extreme consequence, to leave the country.

The correlations listed in Table 6 show that EI is moderately negatively correlated with perceived discrimination and with perceived unfairness. This was found for the unfairness total score as well as for each of the individual unfairness items. However, a closer look at the EI component scores reveals that Clarity was the component with the most pronounced negative correlation with perceived discrimination and perceived unfairness. Repair was moderately negatively related, whereas Attention revealed, again, an effect in the opposite direction.

To summarize, EI and its subcomponents correlated with perceived discrimination and perceived unfairness in a plausible way. Note, however, that these relations may reflect both, actually experienced discrimination as well as its psychological perception. On the one hand, immigrants higher in EI may get along with members of the mainstream society more easily, or they may avoid situations in which discrimination likely occurs, thereby actually decreasing the amount of discrimination confronted with (which is at least relevant for the variable capturing personally experienced discrimination). On the other hand, some of the variance observed may actually reflect individual difference in how discrimination is subjectively perceived. EI may contribute to this perception, but different EI components may have effects in opposite direction. For instance, increased sensitivity to detect rejection (Attention) may increase perceived discrimination. In contrast, the ability to down regulate negative affect (Repair) can help to decrease the perceived severity of experienced discrimination. Additionally, the finding that Clarity is the component most clearly negatively related with perceived discrimination and perceived unfairness suggests that individual differences in the understanding of social interactions and an adequate attribution (explanation) of perceived emotional arousal may be particularly protective against feelings of discrimination.

Emotional intelligence and acculturation behavior

The previously reported findings have confirmed that EI and its constituting components are closely and consistently related with acculturation styles as assessed with the AAS. However, a frequent criticism in acculturation research related to the issue that what is actually assessed as "acculturation styles" are rather high- level acculturation attitudes (as part of the immigrant's self-concept) instead of the more specific acculturation behavior that is actually shown by the immigrant in daily life situations.

Therefore, we attempted to assess the actual acculturation behavior more specifically in study 2. For that purposes we set-up a number of candidate behavior descriptors at an intermediate level of specificity and investigated to what extent self-report data and interview data were most congruent. The final six acculturation behavior descriptors are given in Table 7. Acculturation behavior was also correlated with the AAS acculturation attitudes in the expected way. Specifically, acculturation behavior scored to capture a "positive orientations" towards the immigration country was positively correlated with Integration and Assimilation (r= .11 to r= .52) and negatively correlated with Separation and Marginalization (r= -.02 to r= -.49). As one would expect, the only exception was the inversely scored indicator 'showing critical view', for which all correlations had the opposite direction (r= -.21 to r= -.37, and r= .15 to r= .41, respectively).

The correlations between EI scores and the six descriptors of acculturation behavior are displayed in Table 7. It is noteworthy, that virtually all correlations of the EI total score as well as its component scores with acculturation behavior descriptors indicating a positive orientation towards the immigration country were positive. This was also the case for the Attention component which frequently has correlations in the opposite direction compared with the other component scores (cf. previously reported findings; see also Fernandez-Berrocal, et al., 2004; Salovey, et al., 1995). The inversely scored 'showing critical view' variable was negatively correlated with all EI scores, with the exception of Attention which showed a positive correlation. The overall positive correlations of all EI components suggest that displaying adequate acculturation behavior requires all aspects of emotional intelligence: sensitivity, understanding, and emotion regulation.

However, at least some of the correlations in Table 7 were higher than others, but it seemed to be difficult at first glance to tell apart, whether some of the acculturation behavior descriptors were more specifically associated with one of the three EI components. We therefore conducted joint factor analyses of the TMMS items with the other variables of interest, as previously done with the acculturation scales (cf. Table 4), separately for discrimination, unfairness, and the six acculturation behavior descriptors. However, as discussed, only the 15 items of the TMMS-15 short version of the instrument were entered the factor analysis. The loadings of the 15 items analyzed separately are displayed in the upper part of Table 8 and identified the three factors as Attention, Clarity and Repair (loadings were highly comparable when the other variables were additionally entered the factor analyses).

Perceived discrimination and perceived unfairness clearly loaded negatively on both, the Attention and the Repair factor, but not on Clarity. The higher negative loading of perceived discrimination on Repair points to the protective role of emotion regulation in case of personal experience, whereas the higher loading of perceived unfairness on Clarity underscores the beneficial influence of clarity and understanding when beliefs about the own cultural group play a role, as previously discussed.

The factor analytic method also helped to understand more precisely how the specific acculturation behavior descriptors were related to the three EI components. Clarity turned out to be the most important factor with most of the higher loadings of acculturation behavior descriptors. Additionally, Repair seems to play a role when regulatory processes may be relevant, like in social situations or when it is necessary to suppress ones negative affect or critical view. Finally, there seems to be a certain influence of Attention when initial awareness may be relevant, but there was no behavior descriptor that loaded selectively on the Attention factor.


Emotional intelligence helps people detect, understand, and regulate emotions. Consequently, it has been shown, that EI is associated with a number of psychological adjustment variables in the domains of emotional experience as well as social interactions (e.g., Petrides & Furnham, 2001; Salovey, et al., 1995). These abilities are especially relevant when people are confronted with stress and negative experiences. Therefore, EI plays an important role as a protective factor.

One group known to experience high levels of stress, at least occasionally, are immigrants (e.g., Berry, 1980). Additionally, acculturative stress may be particularly high when the culture of origin and its associated values and beliefs differs a lot from those of the immigration country. In the present studies, we investigated the role of emotional intelligence in two immigrant samples, Turks and North- Africans, living in Germany. (1) One objective was to test the generalizability of the structure of EI components as assessed with the TMMS in samples that differ culturally from those Western cultures in which the instrument has been previously employed. (2) Another objective was to investigate relationships of EI with the preference for specific acculturation styles. (3) Finally, we tested the relationships of EI with acculturation outcomes: wellbeing, as well as perceived discrimination and unfairness.

(1) We replicated the clear three-factorial structure previously obtained with the TMMS-24 in a sample of the German mainstream society (Schmitz & Schmitz, 2011). Also a further abbreviated version of the instrument with only 15 items was shown to possess highly satisfactory structural properties. All scales and subscales had good internal consistencies.

(2) Trait emotional intelligence was shown to be related with the preference for acculturation styles in the predicted way: (2a) Integration was most closely associated with Clarity and Repair. This can be reconciled with the view that participants with the analytic ability to understand their own emotional processes and those of others are best prepared to interact with other people in a highly socially competent way. Additionally, their ability to regulate emotions can be beneficial to cope successfully with the stress caused by, in part, contradictory expectations maintained in different cultural groups. The latter can be considered a prerequisite to maintain relations with different cultural groups, including the culture of origin and that of the immigration country. In fact, Integration requires from the immigrant to maintain relationships with people from a different cultural background.

(2b) Assimilation was also positively correlated with the EI total score and all of the EI component scores. But Assimilation and Integration differed in their pattern of positive relationships: Compared with Integration, Assimilation was more closely related with Attention, but to a lesser extent with Clarity and Repair. This suggests that Assimilation is preferred by people with a high emotional sensitivity (in line with previous findings that this style correlates with emotionality / neuroticism; Schmitz & Berry, 2011). The ability to identify emotions in other people may help them to conform to the expectations of the larger society. At the same time, the two components capturing emotion regulation were not that clearly associated with Assimilation, suggesting that not all participants preferring this acculturation style are fully capable of down-regulating stress-induced negative affect. Avoiding cultural conflict by assimilating to the culture of the immigration country may, thus, be the most appealing acculturation style for them.

(2c) Separation was found to be related with all EI components: There was a positive correlation with Attention and negative correlations with Clarity and Repair. Again, the positive correlation with the ambivalent Attention component suggests that participants with a high level of emotional sensitivity (resp. emotionality / neuroticism, Schmitz & Berry, 2011) may prefer to avoid cultural conflict. Choosing to maintain close relations only within the own cultural group may serve to avoid such conflict. Additionally, the negative relationships with Clarity and Repair suggest that immigrants with a strong preference for Separation are less clear about their emotions and less capable of regulating them.

(2d) A preference for Marginalization is characterized by low Clarity and, particularly, by low Repair. This acculturation style is clearly the one least preferred by immigrants with high emotional intelligence.

(3) Trait emotional intelligence was also correlated with psychological adjustment variables, such as wellbeing and the absence of negative mood, replicating previous findings with the TMMS-24 in samples drawn from the mainstream society (e.g., Schmitz & Berry, 2011; see Fernandez-Berrocal & Extremera, 2006, for an overview). Additionally, it was shown that immigrants high in EI experience less discrimination and feelings of unfairness. Part of this effect may reflect individual differences in the sensitivity towards rejection as well as the ability to regulate the elicited negative affect.
Appendix A
Items of the Acculturation Attitude Scale (AAS-16), German and
English wording


8.                  Ich denke, dass man die kulturellen Traditionen
                    [der eigenen ethnischen Gruppe] wie auch die der
                    Deutsche beibehalten/ubernehmen und pflegen sollte
                    I feel that [ethnic group] should maintain their
                    own cultural traditions but also adapt to those
                    of [national]
18.                 Ich mag deutsche Musikgruppen genauso wie
                    Musikgruppen [meiner ethnischen Gruppe]
                    I like both [national] music-groups and [ethnic]
                    music groups
21.                 Ich mochte sowohl Freunde [aus meiner ethnischen
                    Gruppe] als auch deutsche Freunde haben
                    I prefer to have both [ethnic] and [national]
24.                 Ich mag am liebsten soziale Aktivitaten, an denen
                    sowohl [Mitglieder meiner ethnischen Gruppe] als
                    auch Deutsche teilnehmen
                    I prefer social activities that involve both
                    [national members] and [ethnic members]

4.                  Es ist mir wichtiger, fliessend deutsch zu
                    sprechen als flieBend die Sprache [meiner
                    ethnischen Gruppe]
                    It is more important to me to be fluent in
                    [national language] than in [ethnic language]
9.                  Ich wurde lieber eine(n) Deutsche(n) heiraten als
                    [ein Mitglied meiner ethnischen Gruppe]
                    I would rather marry a [national] than a [ethnic]
11.                 Ich denke, [meine ethnische Gruppe] sollte lieber
                    die kulturellen Traditionen der Deutschen
                    ubernehmen und nicht ihre eigenen aufrechterhalten
                    I feel that [ethnic group] should adapt to
                    [national] cultural traditions and not maintain
                    those of their own
23.                 Ich habe lieber nur deutsche Freunde
                    I prefer to have only [national] friends

7.                  Ich wurde eher [ein Mitglied meiner ethnischen
                    Gruppe] heiraten als eine(n) Deutsche(n)
                    I would rather marry a [ethnic] than a [national]

13.                 Ich mag lieber soziale Aktivitaten, bei denen
                    [nur Mitglieder meiner ethnischen Gruppe]
                    I prefer social activities that involve [ethnic
                    group members]
15.                 Ich habe lieber nur Freunde [aus meiner
                    ethnischen Gruppe]
                    I prefer to have only [ethnic] friends
20.                 Ich mag Musikgruppen [meiner ethnischen Gruppe]
                    lieber als deutsche Musikgruppen
                    I prefer music-groups of my [own ethnic group]
                    rather than [national] music groups

2.                  Ich denke, es ist nicht wichtig [fur meine
                    ethnische Gruppe] weder die eigenen kulturellen
                    Traditionen beizubehalten, noch die der Deutschen
                    anzunehmen, (mit anderen Worten: weder das eine
                    noch das andere ist wichtig)
                    I feel that it is not important for [ethnic
                    group] either to maintain their own cultural
                    traditions or to adapt to those of [national]
12.                 Es ist mir nicht wichtig, weder fliessend die
                    Sprache [meiner ethnischen Gruppe] noch flie Bend
                    deutsch zu sprechen, (mit anderen Worten: keins
                    von beiden)
                    It is not important to me to be fluent either in
                    [ethnic language] or [national language]
16.                 Ich mochte weder an sozialen Aktivitaten von
                    Deutschen noch an denen [meiner ethnischen
                    Gruppe] teilnehmen, (mit anderen   Worten: an
                    keinen von beiden)
                    I don't want to attend either [national] or
                    [ethnic] social activities
19.                 Ich mochte weder Freunde [aus meiner ethnischen
                    Gruppe] noch deutsche Freunde haben
                    I don't want to have either [national] or
                    [ethnic] friends

Note. [...] has to be substituted by the appropriate term
regarding ethnic and national group.

Appendix B
Perceived Unfairness Scale (Immigrant Adolescence Questionnaire/
Scale H), perceived discrimination, and acculturation behavior

Perceived unfairness

When people with
different backgrounds
are together, one may
sometimes feel unfairly
treated. The following
questions are about
these kinds of

1                          I think that others
                           have behaved in an
                           unfair or negative
                           way towards my
                           ethnic group
2                          I don't feel
                           accepted by
                           [national group]
3                          I feel [national
                           group] has
                           something against me
4                          I have been teased
                           or insulted because
                           of my ethnic
5                          I have been
                           threatened or
                           attacked because
                           of my ethnic
Perceived discrimination

1                          I feel
                           discriminated by
Acculturation behavior

1                          Interest               It is of interest
                                                  for me to
                                                  understand the
                                                  German culture
2                          Striving for contact   I enjoy to strive
                                                  for coming in
                                                  contact with Germans
3                          Free-time activities   I enjoy to organize
                                                  my free-time
                                                  activities with
4                          Exploration of new     I like to explore
                           situations             new situations I am
                                                  confronted with
                                                  living in Germany
5                          Showing critical       It is important for
                           view                   me to show openly
                                                  my critical view of
                                                  the German
6                          Language use           The use of the
                                                  German language is
                                                  of prime importance
                                                  for me


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RECEIVED: March 31, 2011

ACCEPTED: November 28, 2011

Paul G. Schmitz (1) and Florian Schmitz (2)

(1) University of Bonn; (2) University of Freiburg (Germany)

Correspondence: Paul G. Schmitz, Institute of Psychology, University of Bonn, Kaiser-Karl-Ring 9, 53111 Bonn (Germany). E-mail:
Table 1
Factor loadings of TMMS-24 items

                            Turks            North-Africans

Scale        Item      I      II    III     I      II    III

Attention    ATT-1    .84                  .80
             ATT-2    .85                  .76
             ATT-3    .77                  .73
             ATT-4    .64                  .73
             ATT-5    .68                  .72
             ATT-6    .78                  .73
             ATT-7    .83                  .82
             ATT-8    .86                  .83
Clarity      CLA-1           .64                  .66    .35
             CLA-2           .68                  .77
             CLA-3           .80                  .83
             CLA-4           .73                  .79
             CLA-5           .69                  .69
             CLA-6           .67                  .76
             CLA-7           .68                  .74
             CLA-8           .54                  .54    .33
Repair       REP-1                  .59                  .54
             REP-2                  .78                  .77
             REP-3                  .74                  .72
             REP-4                  .83                  .80
             REP-5                  .62                  .61
             REP-6                  .66                  .59
             REP-7                  .37    .20    .23    .22
             REP-8                  .55                  .67

Notes: TMMS-24= Trait-Meta-Mood Scale 24-item version.
Principle components analysis with variamax
rotation; only loadings > .30 displayed for clarity of
presentation (with the exception of item REP-7 in the
North-African subsample, for which all loadings are given).

Table 2
Internal consistencies (Cronbach's alphas) of the emotional
 intelligence scales

Scales              # Items   Total Sample    Turks     North-Africans
                                (N= 349)     (N= 199)      (N= 150)
  EI Total            24          .86          .87           .85
  Attention            8          .91          .91           .90
  Clarity              8          .86          .85           .88
  Repair               8          .81          .83           .79

  EI Total            15          .67
  Attention            5          .92
  Clarity              5          .82
  Repair               5          .72

Note: TMMS-24= Trait-Meta-Mood Scale 24-item version; TMMS-15=
 15-items version.

Table 3
Correlations of emotional intelligence with acculturation attitudes

TMMS-24                                Turks

                   Int.         Ass.         Sep.         Marg.

EI Total score      49 **      .45 **       -.01         -.18 *
Attention          .14          44 **        .31 **       .04
Clarity             49 **      .28 **      -0.25         -.14 *
Repair             .43 **       19 **       - 27 **      -.31 **
Cla-Rep            .57 **       29 **       -.33 **      -.28 **

TMMS-24                           North-Africans

                   Int.         Ass.         Sep.         Marg.

EI Total score     .57 **       .37 **      -.14         -.26 **
Attention          .19 *         29 **        29 **       .00
Clarity            .54 **       .26 **      -.33 **      -.25 **
Repair              41 **        17 **      -.28 **      - 29 **
Cla-Rep            .63 **        29 **       -40 **      -.35 **

Notes: Emotional intelligence (EI) assessed with Trait Meta-Mood
Scale, 24-item version (TMMS-24).

Cla-Rep= Clarity-Repair composite score; AAS= Acculturation
Attitude Scale; Int.= Integration, Ass.= Assimilation,
Sep.= Separation, Marg.= Marginalization. *p<.05, **p<.01.

Table 4
Structural relationship of emotional intelligence and
acculturation attitudes

Variable (scale)                        I          II          III

Emotional Intelligence (TMMS-24)
    Attention (item 1-item 8)       .68-.84
    Clarity (item 1-item 8)                     .54-.79
    Repair (item 1-item 8)                                  .33-.78

Acculturation Attitude (AAS)
    Integration Score                               .58         .42
    Assimilation Score                  .40
    Separation Score                    .46        -.39        -.35
    Marginalization Score                                      -.36

Notes: Factor loadings of Trait-Meta-Mood Scale (TMMS-24) items
and scores of the Acculturation Attitude Scales (AAS).
Method: PCA with varimax rotation; only loadings > .30
displayed for clarity of presentation.

Table 5
Correlations of emotional intelligence with wellbeing

TMMS-24                              Turks

                   Wellbeing      Happiness      Depression
                     (SWLS)         (SHS)          (BDI)
EI Total score         .20 **        .30 **        -.37 **
Attention            -0.13          -.22 **         .26 **
Clarity                .10           .13 **        -.10
Repair                 .18 *         .28 **        -.17 *
Cla-Rep                .24 **        .36 **        -.34 **

TMMS-24                           North-Africans

                   Wellbeing      Happiness      Depression

                     (SWLS)         (SHS)          (BDI)

EI Total score        .33 **        .34 **         -.05
Attention            -.01          -.16 *           .04
Clarity               .21 *         .21 *          -.11
Repair                .12           .27 **         -.20 **
Cla-Rep               .29 **        .40 **         -.17 **

Notes: Emotional intelligence (EI) assessed with Trait-Meta-Mood
Scale, 24-item version (TMMS-24).

Cla-Rep= Clarity-Repair composite score; SWLS= Satisfaction
with Life Scale, SHS= Subjective Happiness Scale,
BDI= Beck Depression Inventory. * p< .05, ** p< .01.

Table 6
Correlations of emotional intelligence with perceived discrimination
and unfairness

TMMS-24                                      Unfairness-Scale

                         Perceived       H1          H2          H3

EI total score           -.27 *         -.21 *      -.34 *      -.28 *
Attention                 .21            .16         .12         .24
Clarity                  -.52 **        -.51 **     -.51 **     -.55 **
Repair                   -.34 **        -.27 **     -.38 **     -.37 **
Cla-Rep                  -.54 **        -.50 **     -.56 **     -.58 **


                     H4          H5        H-tot

EI total score      -.22       -.27*       -.30 *
Attention            .16        .15         .18
Clarity             -.37 **    -.39 **     -.51 **
Repair              -.32 **    -.38 **     -.37 **
Cla-Rep             -.44 **    -.49 **     -.56 **

Notes: Emotional intelligence (EI) assessed with Trait Meta-Mood-
Scale, 24-item version (TMMS-24). Cla-Rep= Clarity-Repair composite
score. H1-H5= items of the Unfairness scale (see Appendix B for more
information). H-tot= total score of the Unfairness Scale.
* p< .05, ** p< .01.

Table 7
Correlations of emotional intelligence with
acculturation behavior

    TMMS-24        Interest in         Striving         Free-time
                     German          for contact        activities
                     culture            with              with
                                       Germans           Germans

EI total score         .60 **            .60 **           .52 **
Attention              .45 **            .33 **           .37 **
Clarity                .52 **            .46 **           .28 *
Repair                 .24 **            .46 **           .41 **
Cla-Rep                .49 **            .59 **           .44 **

    TMMS-24        Exploration         Showing            Use of
                     of new-         my critical          German
                    situations         view of           language

EI total score         .47 **            -.12              .66 **
Attention              .36 **             .29 *            .47 **
Clarity                .32 *             -.36 **           .36 **
Repair                 .26 *             -.26 *            .51 **
Cla-Rep                .37 **            -.39 **           .55 **

Notes: Emotional intelligence (EI) assessed with Trait Meta-Mood
Scale, 24-item version (TMMS-24). Cla-Rep= Clarity-Repair
composite score. * p< .05, ** p< .01.

Table 8
Structural relationships of emotional intelligence, perceived
discrimination and unfairness, and acculturation behavior

Scales             Variable            I      II      III

Attention                   ATT-1     .81
                            ATT-2     .82
                            ATT-4     .68
                            ATT-5     .70
                            ATT-7     .82

Clarity                     CLA-2             .71
                            CLA-3             .79
                            CLA-4             .75
                            CLA-5             .70
                            CLA-7             .68

Repair                      REP-1                     .57
                            REP-2                     .75
                            REP-3                     .71
                            REP-5                     .66
                            REP-8                     .67

Perceived          Global rating             -.45    -.62

Perceived          Total score               -.64    -.42

Acculturation      Interest           .44     .53
behavior           Striving for               .59     .40
                   Free-time                          .41
                   Exploration                .51
                    of new-
                   Showing            .43            -.47
                    critical view
                   Use of German              .69

Notes: Factor loadings of TMMS-1 5 items, Unfairness, and
Acculturation behaviour items. Method: PCA; only loadings >
.40 displayed for clarity of presentation. ATT= Attention
items, CLA= Clarity items, REP= Repair items.
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Author:Schmitz, Paul G.; Schmitz, Florian
Publication:Behavioral Psychology/Psicologia Conductual
Date:Jan 1, 2012
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