Risky sexual behaviors in adolescence: their relationship to social-emotional intelligence

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This study examined the relationship between social-emotional intelligence and risky sexual behaviors in adolescence. Despite the introduction of sex education in public schools, there continue to be high rates of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases in the teenage population. Researchers have demonstrated numerous positive life outcomes for individuals with greater levels of social and emotional abilities. However, studies have failed to examine the precise relationship between such abilities and sexual behavior. In the current study, data was collected from 49 high school students in New York State. Using the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory Youth Version and a researcher-designed questionnaire on risky sexual behavior, teenagers with higher Interpersonal Emotional Intelligence reported less sexual risk taking. A significant relationship was also demonstrated between Risky Sexual Behaviors and a control variable, Delinquency. Due to limited participation and a homogenous sample, the results of this study cannot be meaningfully generalized to the greater population. Therefore, these findings support the need for further research to clarify the relationships among these variables and validate the importance of teaching explicit social-emotional training in sex education curricula.
Dissertation completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Psychology degree in School Psychology at Alfred University, Alfred, NY.
Sexual behavior, Adolescence, Social-emotional intelligence, Sex education