The Moderating Role of Emotional Intelligence on the Relationship between Perceived Stress and Academic Adjustment among Undergraduates


  • Stella. A. Olowodunoye
  • Adedoyin Irewole


Academic adjustment, emotional intelligence, perceived stress.


Little attention has been paid to reduction of the effect of stress on students’ academic adjustment. This study therefore, examined the moderating role of emotional intelligence on the relationship between perceived stress and academic adjustment among undergraduates in Ondo State, Nigeria. A cross-sectional survey design was adopted in this study. A total of 500 participants (184 males; 316 females) were sampled from three Universities in the three Senatorial district of Ondo State using multistage sampling techniques. Their ages ranged from 16 to 30 years (Mean = 21.77; SD = 2.77). They responded to academic adjustment scale (α = 0.62), perceived stress scale (α = 0.63) and emotional intelligence scale (α = 0.89). Four hypotheses were formulated and tested using hierarchical multiple regression analysis. Results indicated that perceived stress significantly negatively predicted undergraduate academic adjustment (β = -.29, t = -6.86, p <0.01). Emotional intelligence significantly predicted undergraduates’ academic adjustment (β = .13, t = 3.02, p<0.01). The joint prediction indicated that perceived stress and emotional intelligence jointly predicted academic adjustment (R= .35, R2= .12, F (7,492) = 9.72 p <.05). It further showed that emotional intelligence significantly moderated the relationship between perceived stress and academic adjustment (β=-.82, t = -4.98, p <0.01). Findings indicated that emotional intelligence is an important variable that can reduce the negative impact of perceived stress on academic adjustment among undergraduates. In line with this study, it was recommended that training on emotional intelligence should be part of the general courses in the university system.