The present study was conducted to investigate the relationship and predict the quality of life based on emotional intelligence in elderly diabetic patients referred to the Diabetes Centers of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, in the west of Iran. The results of this study showed that there is no significant relationship between the quality of life in diabetic and non-diabetic patients. Since, in Iran, baseline index and normative criterion of quality of life in elderly people have not been determined, by considering the criterion of zero to 90 which is related to the quality of life questionnaire of the present study, the average score of 45 can be determined for the community as an acceptable indicator. Regarding that the mean of the overall quality of life score (51.9) was higher than the average of the questionnaire, the quality of life of the diabetic elderly patients can be evaluated as a desirable one.
The results of some studies indicate a good quality of life in diabetic patients, some studies indicate a moderate quality of life[21–23] and finally some others indicate a poor quality of life in these patients[24–27].
In general Diabetes can cause a lot of problems in individual, family, social, and high rate of mortality. This disease affects the quality of life of the patient due to the involvement of more organs including the heart, kidneys, eyes, etc. In addition, the chronic nature of boring and disabling treatments and threatening complications of diabetes affects the quality of life of the patient.
The results of this study showed that there is a direct and significant relationship between the emotional intelligence and the quality of life of the elderly diabetic patients, which is consistent with the results of Zysberg et al and Abbasabad et al [28, 29]. These studies indicated that with the increase of emotional intelligence, quality of life is also enhanced. The results are in line with the results of research conducted by Downey (2008) on the depression of 250 students in Romania ,and the study conducted by Ciarrochi et al. (2003) on 302 students showed that people who have higher emotional intelligence cope with life's problems easier and have a higher quality of life. Yalcin study in Turkey on 32 diabetic patients revealed that emotional intelligence reinforcement increases the quality of life of diabetic patients. If the criterion of 33 to 165 which is related to the questionnaire of the present study is considered, the mean score of 99 can be determined as the norm of society and an acceptable indicator for the state of emotional intelligence in the elderly. So, the emotional intelligence score (99.42) of this study was more than the norm index of society.
In this study, there is not a significant difference between the score of emotional intelligence in diabetic and non-diabetic individuals and it is in an acceptable state. Generally, considering the relationship between emotional intelligence and health, many previous studies have shown that people with high emotional intelligence are more likely to have higher physical and mental health than those with lower emotional intelligence and, consequently have a better quality of life.
On the other hand, there was no difference between the studied two groups in terms of quality of life and emotional intelligence based on gender, marital status, and educational levels. While studies have shown the effect of educational level on improving emotional intelligence and subsequently increasing the quality of life. So, people with a high level of education have better socio-economic positions and they can better interact with others and have a healthier life [29, 32–35]. About marital status, other studies showed that married people had a better quality of life than singles and divorced people [36–39]. Other studies showed that there was a statistically significant difference between two sexes based on emotional intelligence, so it was different with the present study results [40–42].
Generally, in explaining these results, it can be said that emotional intelligence and the quality of life are two areas are linked with each other very closely that the problems of each of these areas can be passed on to other area that the results of the studies mentioned indicate this fact.
The most important limitation of this study is the use of correlation method and the discovered relationships cannot be regarded as excellent relationships. Another limitation is the use of self-reporting tools. These tools usually collect responses that others think should be correct. Individuals who complete these tools may not have enough self-control and will not respond responsibly.