School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Casey Reason


competence, discriminant factor analysis, emotional intelligence, generations, intelligence, Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this quantitative study using a non-experimental, quantitative, and correlational research design, was to discriminate between the emotional intelligence of school leaders in two cohorts: Generation X and the Millennial Generation. Emotional intelligence (the ability to process emotions and emotional stimuli to guide thinking and behavior) was measured using the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence-Test. Emails on public school district websites were used to recruit the principals and distribute the survey. The convenience sample consisted of 86 school principals from the northeastern United States. The total emotional intelligence score was significantly higher in the Millennials than Generation X. Discriminant Function Analysis classified the four categories of emotional intelligence (perceiving emotions, facilitating thought, understanding emotions, and managing emotions) between the two groups of principals. The statistics were weighted to account for the differences in group size. One statistically significant discriminant function explained 100% of the variance. The Millennial Generation were more able than Generation X to understand and manage emotions. The implications are that Millennial principals may be better able than Generation X principals to inspire feelings of trust, cooperation, motivation, optimism, self-confidence, contentment, and commitment among their peers, colleagues and subordinates. More research is needed to examine the degree to which generational and demographic factors predict emotional intelligence among school principals.