The Association Between Emotional Intelligence and Early Adolescent Tobacco and Alcohol Use

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Health Psychology | Mental and Social Health | Substance Abuse and Addiction


A study was conducted to explore the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and adolescent tobacco and alcohol use (TAU). Subjects were 205 multi-ethnic adolescents (52% male) from middle schools in southern California (mean age=12.63 years), 153 from a public school and 52 from a parochial school. An abbreviated version of the Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale, Student Version [Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (1997). Multifactor emotional intelligence scale, student version. Durham, NH] was used to assess the EI of the students. EI was negatively correlated with a general, overall measure of tobacco and alcohol use, and with individual tobacco and alcohol scales and items. It is plausible that the adolescents with high EI may possess a greater mental ability to read others well and detect unwanted peer pressure. These abilities may have led to an increased resistance to TAU, thus explaining the negative correlations found in this study. Further research is needed to validate these findings.

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© 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd