These factors were used to develop the Emotional Intelligence portion of the study. The study encompassed all four of these skill areas, placing equal weight on all four factors.
Assumptions and Limitations
As with any survey-based study, there are several assumptions and limiting factors that may effect the results obtained. Self-reporting surveys can be criticized for their inability to measure the honesty of the test subject. It is assumed that the test subject will answer the questions in a way that reflect their true feelings. It is assumed that they are not making a conscious effort to give the researcher the answer that they want to hear, thus creating biased results.
This research design will attempt to measure the effect of emotional intelligence on the success of a smoking cessation program for adolescents. The success of any smoking cessation program depends on the internal motivation of the person and their desire to quit. It is assumed that the study participants have a desire to quit. However, motivational levels might vary among the study participants, particularly among those that are being forced to enter into the program through school disciplinary authorities.
This study will use a cross section of 200 males and females from the local high school population. There might be internal biases within the population that effect the ability of the researcher to draw conclusions that can be generalized to the population at large. This biases might or might not become apparent through the course of this investigation. Statistical means will be used to help discover and account for any such biases that might be present that are unique among the sample population.
This research study uses quantitative methodology to measure the effect of emotional intelligence on the success of failure of adolescents enrolled in a smoking cessation program. The results of this study will help researchers to understand the role of emotional intelligence on the ability of teens to stop smoking habits. It will help researchers to develop more effective smoking cessation programs targeted toward teens.
There are a number of confounding variables arising from external sources that might effect the outcome of the study. These variables include family history of smoking, social factors, race, and gender. These variables will divided into their respective categories so that they can be cross tabulated. If there is little difference between the groups, then it is not likely that the variable will have an effect on the outcome of the study. However, if differences are found between the groups then this variable could have an impact on the ability to draw conclusions. One of the key difficulties of this research study is the isolation of the independent and dependent variables. However, the research design has internal factors that will help to account for its limitations.
Integrative Summary and Critique
This study measured the effects of emotional intelligence on the success rates of adolescents enrolled in a smoking cessation program. A literature review was conducted prior to the conduct of this study. This literature review revealed that emotional intelligence was a factor in the development of coping mechanisms and leadership skills. The following critical literature review will demonstrate the importance of these research findings in relation to the entire body of literature in the study.
Of the respondents to the survey, 48% were found to be male. The mean score for emotional intelligence was 11.7 on a 20 point scale. The Standard deviation for the group was 4.90. T-tests indicated that females had slightly higher Emotional Intelligence scores than male respondents, but the difference was not found to be statistically significant. Emotional Intelligence scores were not found to be racially significant. The following races were identified during the study: Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic-American, and Asian-American. The 16- to 18-year-old age group was found to have higher emotional intelligence scores than the 13- to 15-year-old group. This may be the result of maturation, or more years of life experience. T-test revealed no other statistical differences in the scores of groups of test participants. These results do not raise concerns over differences between groups as a contributing factor to bias. They support the successful isolation of the variables and the absence of biases that could skew results.
Among all groups identified, those with emotional intelligence scores had significantly greater success with the smoking cessation program than did those with low emotional intelligence scores. Females displayed both higher emotional intelligence an greater ability to stop smoking than did males. However, it cannot be assumed that both of these factors are related in this case and further isolation of these test groups would be helpful in determining if this correlation is significant.
This study revealed a correlation between high emotional intelligence and higher family income. There are many reasons why this may occur, one of which might be educational in nature, or related to higher social functioning within the family unit, but this could not be determined through the course of this study. Although this would appear to be a factor that could skew the results of the study, there was no significant difference between high income and low income adolescents in the ability to stop smoking. Therefore, this was not a factor causing bias as far as this study is concerned.
Critical Literature Review
Understanding Emotional Intelligence and Addictive Behavior
Self-talk refers to the internal dialogue that everyone has with themselves on a daily basis. This private world is the key to understanding our goals, motivations, and how we respond to our environment. Self-talk has been observed to be one of the best ways to change behaviors and attitudes (Depape,.et al., 2006). By teaching someone to change their self-talk, one can effect a change in self-regulation. Self-talk was considered to be a significant predictor of emotional intelligence. There is a positive connection between self-talk and emotional intelligence (Depape,.et al., 2006). This same study found that gender was not a predictor of emotional intelligence.
Susan Dunn specializes in the topic of Emotional Intelligence and addiction. She reminds us that between the stimulus and the response, there is a space. Within that space, we must make a choice (Dunn, 2007). This is an element that is often overlooked by modern psychologists. It is easy to forget the human side of psychology, the part of us that resides in freewill. This side of human response to a stimulus is difficult to measure and adds an element of random chance to any learning process or analysis. An addiction skews response towards a particular action, more so than in the non-addicted person. The addict does not have as much freedom of choice as the non-addict.
Once must be careful not to blame the substance for this loss of freedom. The alcohol bottle does not pick itself up and the cigarette does not force its way into the mouth and light itself. The addict must make a choice to engage in the activity. Dunn (2007) points to a study where a cohort of 54 long-term heroine users were found not to have an addiction. This debunked claims that heroine was the most addictive drug. The reason for the findings was that the users had developed social rituals and ways of using heroine that produced a controlled use of heroine. One user had been using heroine in this way for 23 years and did not become addicted (Dunn, 2007).
The release of dopamine is the ultimate reward for any addict, regardless of the substance (Dunn, 2007). This release is responsible for the pleasure that is associated with addictions. Typically, when one speaks of the "high" that one feels, it brings to mind more dangerous and explicit substances, such as crack, or meth,. However, researchers warn us not to underestimate the addictive actions of nicotine (Dunn, 2007). The nicotine rate is almost 70% for all smokers (Dunn, 2007). Addiction becomes as automatic response to fulfill a craving.
Addictions are a learned helplessness. One becomes helpless to overcome the need to satiate a need. Emotional intelligence can be the key to learning many other skills, such as anger management, self-empowerment, and positive self-talk, which can give the person tools to help control their automatic urges (Dunn, 2007). Those with greater emotional intelligence often seek the help of others more often than those with lower emotional intelligence (Dunn, 2007).
Dunn makes several compelling arguments that are difficult to with which to find fault. The most important argument that she makes is that no one has the expressed intent to become an addict. There is always an underlying reason to start an addictive behavior. The real motivation behind the first puff or the first drink is always to relive a problem such as depression, anger, sadness, or simply to have fun. The addiction is the product of these other behaviors. The irony is that the addiction seldom relieves the underlying causes of the condition, instead it will often make them worse (Dunn, 2007).