Emotional Intelligence and Smoking Risk Factors in Adolescents: Interactions on Smoking Intentions

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Health Psychology | Mental and Social Health | Personality and Social Contexts | Substance Abuse and Addiction



To examine interactions between emotional intelligence (EI) and smoking risk factors on smoking intentions in adolescents.


EI is defined as the ability to: accurately perceive, appraise, and express emotion; access and/or generate feelings in facilitating thought; understand emotion and emotional knowledge; and regulate emotions. EI of 416 6th graders (53% girls) from middle schools in the Los Angeles area (mean age = 11.3 years; 32% Latino, 29% Asian/Pacific Islander, 13% white, 19% Multiethnic, 6% Other) was assessed with an abbreviated version of the Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale, Adolescent Version (MEIS). This was a competence-based measure assessing an individual's ability to perceive, understand, and manage emotion. Logistic regression models were fit to test interactions between EI and ever trying cigarettes, hostility, and perceived ability to refuse a cigarette from someone just met, on intentions to smoke in the next year.


High EI adolescents were more likely to intend to smoke in the next year if they had previously experimented with smoking. Those with low EI were more likely to intend to smoke if their perceived ability to refuse a cigarette offer from a person they just met was low or hostility level was high.


These preliminary results indicate that EI interacts with risk factors to reduce smoking intentions, and contributes evidence to a link between EI and smoking in adolescents.

Rights Information

© 2003 Society for Adolescent Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc.