Date of Conferral







Gendolyn Cook-Jones


Foster care workers are an important part of the social service system, as they are the first line of support for children without families or who have been subjected to tragic events leading to their need for foster care. Foster care workers often experience work-life boundary issues due to the emotional nature of their work. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the relationship between (a) emotional intelligence and absenteeism and (b) emotional intelligence and work-life balance with foster care workers. Data was collected from foster care workers in the state of South Carolina employed with the Department of Social Services (n=200). Participants completed the Emotional Social Competency Inventory (ESCI) and the Work Related Quality of Life Scale (WRQoL) via pen and paper and email receipts. Ordinary least squares regression was used, including methods for mediation testing; multivariate analysis of covariance was also carried out for robustness testing purposes. No significant relationship was found between emotional intelligence and absenteeism. There was a significant relationship between various elements of emotional intelligence and various elements of work-life balance, but the effect sizes were small (> 0.04). There were no significance effects based on the results for absenteeism. Overall, the results illuminate the role of emotional intelligence on the work and life balance of foster care workers. One recommendation for future research would be to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary absenteeism. The results of the study can be used by organizations that employ foster care workers to improve the work and life balance and the effects of absenteeism in this line of work.