The Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i 2.0)

Having good emotional intelligence can be more decisive than having a genius IQ. However, how is it evaluated? And how can we tell who possesses good emotional skills?
The Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i 2.0)
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 March, 2023

Empathizing with those who surround you. Being socially responsible. Knowing how to communicate what you want to express. Being able to regulate your emotions to make more effective and thoughtful decisions. All of these competencies allow you to navigate life’s journey more successfully. However, how do you know if you’re proficient in these capabilities or if you need to work on them?

In reality, there are multiple instruments for assessing emotional intelligence, both in children and adults. That said, not all of them are valid or effective. In fact, many of these tests are organized into general questions and obtain biased scores. They’re the classic tests that can be found online but lack scientific rigor.

As a matter of fact, many years have been spent in an attempt to understand if emotional intelligence is a scientific construct that can be measured. Mayer, Caruso, and Salovey described it in the 1990s and Daniel Goleman popularized it in his books. Since then, experts have made many attempts to develop a valid test to evaluate it. Today, there’s the EQ-I 2.0 inventory. It’s the most widely used and reliable tool for measuring emotional intelligence.

“Emotional intelligence defines a ‘thinker with a heart’ who perceives, understands, and effectively manages the art of social relationships.”

-Mayer and Salovey-

Emotional Quotient Inventory 2.0
The Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i 2.0) draws on more than twenty years of research.

The purpose of the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i 2.0)

Reuven Bar-On is an Israeli psychologist. He’s a notable pioneer in emotional intelligence research. Indeed, he’s one of the most renowned figures in this field, along with Daniel Goleman and Mayer, Caruso, and Salovey. Bar-On developed the original Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) in 1997. Multi-Health Systems later revised it and it became EQ-i 2.0. Today, it’s one of the most effective and popular instruments for measuring emotional intelligence.

Dr. Bar-On published a study in 2014 in which he described his original EQ-i as an instrument that aims to assess emotionally and socially intelligent behavior. This resource was the result of more than 20 years of research. It makes it easier to understand in which areas individuals are outstanding and in which they need to improve.

The EQ-i 2.0 can be applied from the age of 16. Its administration takes just over half an hour. With it, information can be obtained about the emotional abilities associated with relationships, work, and life in general.

“A view of human nature that ignores the power of emotions is sadly myopic.”

-Daniel Goleman-

EQ-i 2.0 Scales and subscales

The EQ-I 2.0 inventory evaluates 15 competencies. They’re organized into five specific areas. It should be noted that this model for analyzing people’s emotional intelligence doesn’t focus on the areas that Daniel Goleman introduced in his work. In fact, Reuven Bar-On is known for defining the third major model of emotional intelligence.

These are the scales that make up the instrument.

1. Self-perception

Self-perception defines your ability to understand and be aware of your abilities, skills, and competencies. It also consists of the vision you have of yourself. It’s an essential quality for knowing how to behave in your relationships and daily challenges. This scale is made up of three subscales:

  • Self-esteem. The assessments that you have about yourself.
  • Self-realization. The necessity of having a good disposition for improving and achieving your vital objectives.
  • Emotional self-awareness. Being aware and understanding what you feel, what’s happening to you, and what you need are fundamental pillars of emotional intelligence.

2. Interpersonal skills

How can you improve your affective relationships? In what ways could you be more successful at work? How should you deal with disagreements, problems, and differences with the people around you?

Interpersonal skills make up this scale within the Reuven Bar-On emotional intelligence model. It consists of the following subscales:

  • Ability to relate. Competencies that you often tend to apply naturally when interacting with others. However, some people struggle with these abilities.
  • Empathy. Knowing how to connect and understand the emotional realities of others.
  • Social responsability. The socially responsible individual possesses the skills to enrich society. For instance, if you’re socially responsible, you’re sensitive to the well-being of others. Moreover, you practice respect, justice, altruism, etc.

3. Self-expression

Many of us need to improve our emotional self-expression. Indeed, it isn’t easy to know how to express what you feel, ask for what you need, or communicate difficult emotions when you feel them without causing harm to others. This is a life competence that configures a decisive scale in the EQ-i (2). It’s made up of the following subscales:

  • Assertiveness. The ability to communicate what you think/feel and want with respect and in a constructive way.
  • Independence. Level of autonomy. The extent to which you’re not emotionally dependent on others.
  • Emotional expressiveness. Being effective when expressing your emotions, both verbally and non-verbally.

4. Decision making

We’re not usually taught how to make good decisions. As a matter of fact, you tend to establish this kind of learning through trial and error, with good doses of reflection and self-awareness.

Knowing how to decide through reflection, analysis, and even intuition constitutes a decisive dimension of the EQ-i (2.0). Its subscales are as follows:

  • Problem resolution. When facing challenges or difficulties, it’s essential that you know how to regulate both your impulses and emotions. Only then will you be able to successfully handle your problems, whether they be big or small.
  • Impulse control. Some people, due to their personality types, respond impulsively to almost all areas of their lives. They later come to regret it. On the other hand, if you’re emotionally skilled, you’ll have mastered this dimension.
  • Knowing how to contrast reality. You must develop a good competence to filter reality objectively and not so much through your emotions.

Reuven Bar-On is the only psychologist to formulate and include optimism as a critical variable in his model of emotional intelligence. He claims this dimension is essential for handling problems.

5. Stress management

The fact that the EQ-i 2.0 includes this dimension enriches the resource and makes it extremely useful. Indeed, in today’s world, we all need to know how to understand and regulate our states of stress.

Emotional intelligence teaches you how to temper your irrational thoughts. Furthermore, it helps you regulate the internal states that make you lose control over your life.

  • Flexibility. The flexible mind knows how to adapt to uncertainty and any challenge. Therefore, it avoids blocks or avoidance behaviors.
  • Stress tolerance. Whether you like it or not, stress is part of life. The key lies in knowing how to regulate it before any circumstances overwhelm you.
  • Optimism. Positive and hopeful attitudes allow you to better face any kind of problem.
Brain with a heart symbolizing the Emotional Quotient Inventory 2.0
The instruments to evaluate emotional intelligence allow us to discover which areas are the ones that we should work on much more.

The reliability of the EQ-i (2.0)

The EQ-i 2.0 was first developed and applied to the US population. However, over the years, the rest of the world has validated it. Today, it’s the most widely used instrument for measuring emotional intelligence.

As a matter of fact, the EQ-i (2.0) is a consistent test with good validity that’s effective in any culture. Educational settings and especially work environments use it. For example, it makes it easier to improve the leadership skills of employees. It can even optimize the performance of work teams.

In conclusion, the EQ-i (2.0) is a tool that’s easy to apply and that can provide extremely useful information. Above all, it informs you in which areas you should improve to invest in your well-being and happiness.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bar-On, R. (2004). The Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i): Rationale, description and psychometric properties. In G. Geher (Ed.), Measuring emotional intelligence: Common ground and controversy. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science.
  • Bar-On, R. (2006). The Bar-On model of emotional-social intelligence (ESI). Psicothema, 18 , supl., 13-25.
  • Butler, C. J., & Chinowsky, P. S. (2006). Emotional intelligence and leadership behavior in construction executives. Journal of Management in Engineering, 22(3), 119-125.
  • Day, A. L., Therrien, D. L. & Carroll, S. A. (2005). Predicting psychological health: Assessing the incremental validity of emotional intelligence beyond personality, Type A behaviour, and daily hassles. European Journal of Personality19(6), 519-536.
  • Van Zyl, Casper. (2014). The psychometric properties of the Emotional Quotient Inventory 2.0 in South Africa. South African Journal of Industrial Psychology. 40. 10.4102/sajip.v40i1.1192.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.