Emotion skills as a protective factor for risky behaviors among college students

Susan E. Rivers, Marc A. Brackett, Mika Omori, Cole Sickler, Michelle C. Bertoli, Peter Salovey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Involvement in health-endangering behaviors is considered a reflection of college students' psychosocial development; however, not all students participate in these activities. Emotion skills, such as the ability to interpret and manage emotions, may serve as a protective factor against risk-taking behavior among emerging adults. We compared the contributions of emotional intelligence and self-esteem, a commonly studied risk factor, to engagement in risk-taking behaviors among undergraduates (N = 243). Structural equation modeling revealed that emotional intelligence, but not self-esteem, was related significantly to risky behaviors. These findings lend support to the literature showing that emotional intelligence may serve as a protective factor for college student risk taking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-183
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of College Student Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Mar


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