Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Exercise and Health Science

First Advisor

Philimon Nyakauru Gona

Second Advisor

Tongjian You

Third Advisor

Richard Fleming


PURPOSE: We assessed the association of Physical Activity (PA) measures on overall Emotional Intelligence (EI) and domains of EI: Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Adaptability, General Mood, and Stress Management in adolescents.

METHODS: Cross-sectional and two-year follow up analyses were conducted relating EI to PA measures using the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth in adolescents between 10- 13 years. EI score was measured by using a validated the youth version of the Emotional Quotient Inventory; PA was self-reported. Regression analysis adjusted for age, gender, household annual income, and health status and was summarized using regression coefficients. A test of linear trend assessed the dose-response associated with ordinal categories of PA and EI scores. The p-value was set to <0.05.

RESULTS: Cross-sectionally, there were 2,029 participants (48.7% male and over 50% were 12-13). The mean GEI scores were 28.3±6.6 for 0-30 minutes, 30.0±6.5 for 30-<60 minutes, 30.8±6.7 for 60-120 minutes, and 30.1±6.5 for > 121 minutes PA duration categories. There were significant pairwise differences and a statistically significant test for linear trend across PA categories. Similar patterns were observed with other measures of PA. Linear regression analysis showed a positive relationship between EI score and PA duration categories. Engaging in between 1-2 hours was associated with increased regression coefficients for Global EI scores (GEI) and General Mood, and over 2 hours had increased EI scores and domain scores, p<0.05. Engaging in vigorous PA > 4 times/week was associated with the highest regression coefficients for GEI, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Adaptability, and General Mood domains, all p-values <0.05. Over a two-year follow up period, (619 participants; 50% 10-11 and 52% females) engaging in moderate PA > 4 times/week had marginally increased General Mood scores (p=0.0989).

CONCLUSION: PA measures showed a positive linear association with GEI score and the Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Adaptability, and General Mood domains scores. Over a 2-year follow up period, adolescents engaging in moderate PA > 4 times/week had increased General Mood scores. We add to the body of evidence that PA duration and vigorous PA are beneficial to GEI in adolescents. Longitudinal intervention studies assessing for temporal trends are warranted.

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