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The EQ-i 2.0 Model and The Science Behind It

The EQ-i 2.0® Model

Download the EQ-i 2.0 Model Evolution from EQ-i to EQ-i 2.0 Flyer here

The 1-5-15 factor structure: this is a particular structural set-up, based on the Bar-On (1997) model of EI, that EQ-i users have always found easy to use and have become accustomed to. The EQ-i 2.0 features one overarching EI score, broken down into five composite scores which, in turn, are broken down into a total of 15 subscales. While, in the earlier version, individual items loaded on multiple subscales, in the new EQ-i 2.0, items only load on one subscale.


New composite scales

Self-Perception, Self-Expression: The Emotional Self-Awareness subscale from the previous version contained items that measured both the perception and the expression of emotions. The new factor structure resolves this ‘double content’ issue by dividing the items into two subscales. The items pertaining to self-awareness now reside in the Emotional Self-Awareness subscale of the Self-Perception composite. The self-expression items were also retained and expanded to better address how one expresses oneself, inspiring the addition of the Emotional Expression subscale.

New subscale

Emotional Expression: This subscale, which is part of the Self-Expression composite scale, is about openly expressing one’s feelings, verbally and non-verbally. Emotional expression extends beyond the simple overt expression of one’s feelings to include the communication of one’s feelings in a manner that can be understood by the recipient.

New composite scale

Decision Making: The Decision-Making composite scale addresses the way in which one uses emotional information in the decision-making process. This facet of emotional intelligence includes Problem Solving, Reality Testing, and Impulse Control subscales. This composite scale reveals how well one understands the impact emotions have on decision-making, including the ability to resist or delay impulses and remain objective so as to avoid rash behavior and ineffective problem solving.

The Decision Making composite is also a result of the realignment and restructuring of the original Adaptability and Stress Management composites. Decision Making is more intuitive, easier to coach to, and better addresses the needs of EQ-i 2.0 users.

Problem Solving subscale

In the case of the Problem Solving subscale which exists in both the EQ-i and the EQ-i 2.0, improvements have been made to resolve potential interpretation issues. Problem Solving is now defined as the ability to find solutions to problems in situations where emotions are involved. It includes the ability to understand how emotions impact decision making and about using emotional information in a meaningful way to enhance the problem solving process: recognizing a problem and feeling confident in one’s ability to work through it, defining the problem, generating a solution, and implementing the plan.


Previously, the EQ-i included Happiness as one of the 15 components of emotional intelligence. The EQ-i 2.0 has been modified to view happiness as a product of emotional intelligence rather than a contributing factor to emotional intelligence. This, coupled with the fact that most coaches, consultants, and counselors, found it difficult to directly coach to Happiness, lead to the EQ-i 2.0 introducing the Well-Being indicator. It explores the relationship between one’s level of Happiness and Self-Regard, Optimism, Interpersonal Relationships, and Self-Actualization. Each report will consist of a Happiness score which is generated in the same manner as all other EQ-i 2.0 subscales, but it does not affect the total EI score.






The Science Behind EQ-i 2.0

Several changes and advancements were made within the science behind EQ-i 2.0. While some of these changes are merely basic improvements over the previous version, others reflect major shifts in society and use of the assessment, and they will make a vast difference for assessment users.


With our rigorous process in building a large and highly representative normative sample, we set the basis for precise performance prediction. The EQ-i 2.0 normative sample includes 4,000 self-report ratings from adults residing in the U.S. (90% of the sample) and Canada (10% of the sample).

Data were gathered from all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, as well as from all ten Canadian provinces. This sample includes 200 men and 200 women in each of the following age groups: 18–24, 25–29, 30–34, 35–39, 40–44, 45–49, 50–54, 60–64, 65+. Race/ethnicity, education level, and geographic region distributions are all within 4% of Census targets. This close match to Census means that the EQ-i 2.0 normative sample is highly representative of the North American general population; therefore meeting the highest scientific standards for norm sample development.

The need for an updated normative sample is of paramount importance, given the dramatic shift in cultural diversity levels, as well as changing attitudes and value systems in the North American population that have occurred since the original EQ-i was released.

Reliability and Validity

Reliability refers to the consistency or precision of scores (i.e., how consistently does the EQ-i 2.0 measure emotional intelligence?), and validity refers to how effectively the EQ-i 2.0 measures emotional intelligence (i.e., how well does the EQ-i 2.0 do what it is supposed to do).

Based on results from numerous statistical analyses, users of the EQ-i 2.0 can be confident that the scores generated by this assessment will be consistent and reliable. Results also revealed that the EQ-i 2.0 very accurately measures emotional intelligence. For example, decades of research now show the effectiveness of the EQ-i in measuring emotional intelligence, related concepts, and relevant outcomes. We found a very strong relationship between the scores on the original EQ-i and the EQ-i 2.0.