Substance abuse among young adults is a significant issue for public health and it is a problem that often begins during adolescence. Most commonly used among this population are alcohol, marijuana and tobacco. The use of these substances triples in young adulthood, leading to costly and substantial psychosocial impairment.
Although many researchers have studied the issue of substance abuse in an attempt to understand its risk factors, patterns of use, clinical implications, cognitive considerations, attitudes and behaviors, little research has been conducted to investigate if emotions act as a contributing factor to this social condition among young adults. Emotional Intelligence is viewed as a cognitive construct that puts forward an individual’s ability to identify, to access, to comprehend, and to appropriately control emotions that impact behavior.
This study seeks to uncover the relationship between emotional intelligence and risk behaviors such as substance abuse among young adults; particularly as it relates to the most commonly used substances: alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco. A sample of 110 freshmen college students, ages 18 to 20, of mixed gender and ethnic background, will be surveyed using the Schutte, et al. (1998) emotional intelligence test, known as the Schutte Self Report Inventory (SSRI), the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND), and the Marijuana Screening Inventory (MSI-X).
This study will be a correlational design that seeks to uncover the relationship between emotional intelligence scores on the SSRI and the scores on alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use as measured by the AUDIT, FTND, and MSI-X. The results from this study will serve to inform clinicians interested in implementing programs designed to target substance use among late adolescents and young adults.