In this research, we investigated the effects of participation in a college outdoor orientation program (OOP) on participants’ trait emotional intelligence (TEI). Three hundred seventeen outdoor orientation participants completed the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire – Short Form (TEIQue-SF) before and after participation in an OOP. Four unique OOP models were examined. Analysis of the data revealed statistically significant increases in TEI scores across three of the four types of OOP. Reduced levels of TEI were observed among participants of a fourth program type. First-generation college students were most likely to report lower levels of TEI at pretest. Participants with the lowest TEI scores at pretest reported the greatest increases in TEI compared to those with higher pretest scores. This research provides evidence that participation in an outdoor orientation program can significantly affect a student’s development of trait emotional intelligence. Practical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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