Emotional awareness is the ability to conceptualize and describe one’s own emotions and those of others. Over thirty years ago, a cognitive-developmental theory of emotional awareness patterned after Piaget’s theory of cognitive development was created as well as a performance measure of this ability called the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale (LEAS). Since then, a large number of studies have been completed in healthy volunteers and clinical populations including those with mental health or systemic medical disorders. Along the way, there have also been further refinements and adaptations of the LEAS such as the creation of a digital version in addition to further advances in the theory itself. This review aims to provide a comprehensive summary of the evolving theoretical background, measurement methods, and empirical findings with the LEAS. The LEAS is a reliable and valid measure of emotional awareness. Evidence suggests that emotional awareness facilitates better emotion self-regulation, better ability to navigate complex social situations and enjoy relationships, and better physical and mental health. This is a relatively new but promising area of research in the domain of socio-emotional skills. The paper concludes with some recommendations for future research.
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