November 02, 2007

Emotional Intelligence, Drug Use and Schizophrenia

There has been a lot of research that suggests that children who have poorer social and emotional skills (called Emotional Intelligence, or EI for short) are at greater risk for mental health problems, including schizophrenia. People who have mental health problems are also known to be much higher consumers of tobacco products, and more likely to have abused street drugs like cannabis / marijuana when they were younger (and also to use it more frequently after they've developed schizophrenia). Now a new research study links emotional intelligence directly to increased tobacco products and cannabis use. While the link is not yet a proven causal relationship a lot of research suggests that helping children improve their emotional intelligence is likely to benefit any child by reducing their stress in social situations, improving the likelihood that they will develop positive and strong friendships which are key to mental health in any society.

The term Emotional Intelligence could be defined as the capacity to perceive, comprehend and regulate one's own emotions and those of others so as to be able to distinguish between emotions and use this information as a guide for one's thoughts and actions. One of the important benefits of developing this type of intelligence is the ability to learn how to interact with others and to face an ever changing social and cultural world more effectively.

In a new study the Stress and Health Research Group (GIES) of the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona has analyzed "Perceived emotional intelligence and it relation to tobacco and cannabis use among university students".The objective of this research consisted in analyzing the possible relation between emotional intelligence and the use of tobacco and cannabis among 133 UAB psychology students with an average age of 21.5 years.

According to the research, students who had started smoking either tobacco or cannabis at a younger age and who regularly smoked these substances obtained lower scores in questions related to emotional regulation. Thus students who are less able to regulate their emotional state are more tempted to consume tobacco and/or cannabis and regular consumption of these substances is a way of making up for this emotional shortage.

The level of emotional comprehension also seems to be related to the sporadic use of cannabis, since those who consumed less were the ones who scored highest in this category. In other words, young people who clearly comprehend the emotions they are experiencing, together with the situations in which they appear, are also those who consume less amounts of cannabis.

The study however did not reveal any relation between emotional perception and the use of these substances.

The results of the study indicate that a relation exists between some EI components and the use of tobacco and/or cannabis. Personal abilities are a key element in adapting to the demands of each person's surroundings and, in addition to actions addressed to preventing first contacts with drugs and their consolidation among people, developing one's EI could help prevent teenagers from the temptation of taking drugs.

Source: Press Release from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

Learn more: Emotional Intelligence and How to Improve it in Your Child

How to Maximize the Mental Health of Your Child


Its genetics. Then maybe EI comes into play but i dont know im not a scientist. Maybe people are borned to have schizophrenia and they have little or no EI from a result of carrying the schizophrenic gene. All i know is that i had and have EI. I was always social and still am even after schizophrenia. I was always aware of mine and other peoples emotions. So this study just sounds like another way to blame schizophrenia on the schizophrenic lacking something while growing up. Just like the stupid IQ study that says people with low IQ's are more likely to develop schizophrenia.

Posted by: Erik at November 26, 2007 02:37 PM

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