The Protective Association of Emotional Intelligence with Psychosocial Smoking Risk Factors for Adolescents

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



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


Previous research has explored the direct association between emotional intelligence (EI) and adolescent smoking, however its relation to psychosocial smoking risk factors has yet to be determined. 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 was assessed with a shortened version of the Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale, Adolescent Version, and was administered to 416 6th graders (53% girls) from middle schools in the Los Angeles area (mean age=11.3 years; 32% Hispanic/Latino, 29% Asian/Pacific Islander, 13% White, 19% Multiethnic, 6% Other). Results indicate that high EI is a protective factor for smoking risk factors in adolescents. Linear regression models revealed that high EI was associated with greater perceptions of the negative social consequences of smoking (P<0.001) and with being more efficacious in refusing cigarette offers (P<0.001). Logistic regression models revealed that high EI was associated with a lower likelihood of intending to smoke in the next year (OR=0.96, 95% C.I.: 0.92–0.99). Those with high EI may be better able to benefit from social influences-based prevention programs and, as adolescent smoking prevention programs evolve, taking EI into account may lead to increased effectiveness.

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© 2003 Elsevier Ltd.