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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 975189, 8 pages
Review Article

Emotional Competence as a Positive Youth Development Construct: A Conceptual Review

Department of Educational Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Received 30 June 2011; Accepted 31 August 2011

Academic Editor: Joav Merrick

Copyright © 2012 Patrick S. Y. Lau and Florence K. Y. Wu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The concept of emotional competence as a positive youth development construct is reviewed in this paper. Differences between emotional intelligence and emotional competence are discussed and an operational definition is adopted. Assessment methods of emotional competence with an emphasis on its quantitative nature are introduced. In the discussion of theories of emotional competence, the functionalist and developmental perspectives and the relationships with positive youth development are highlighted. Possible antecedents, especially the influence of early child-caregiver, and expected outcomes of emotional competence are examined. Practical ways to promote emotional competence among adolescents, particularly the role of parents and teachers, and the future direction of research are also discussed.