Emotional Intelligence and Acculturation to the United States: Interactions on the Perceived Social Consequences of Smoking in Early Adolescents

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Cognition and Perception | Health Psychology | Mental and Social Health | Race and Ethnicity | Substance Abuse and Addiction


High emotional intelligence (EI) is associated with decreased adolescent smoking. Acculturation to the United States is a risk factor for adolescent smoking. High EI may buffer the relationship between acculturation to the United States and perceptions of the social consequences of smoking (PSC). Emotional intelligence is the ability to: accurately perceive, appraise, and express emotion; access and/or generate feelings m facilitating thought; understand emotion and emotional knowledge; and regulate emotions. Emotional intelligence (measured by the Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale, Adolescent Version), acculturation, and PSC were assessed in 2001 from 416 Southern California sixth graders (47% boys; mean age = 11.3 yrs; 32% Hispanic/Latino, 29% Asian/Pacific Islander, 13% White, 19% Multiethnic, 6% Other). There was a significant EI ⊗ US acculturation interaction (p « 0.01) suggesting that those with high EI perceived more social consequences associated with smoking. As the U.S. population becomes increasingly diversified, identifying protective variables and designing effective prevention programs for adolescents of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds becomes important.

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© 2005 Taylor & Francis, Ltd.