Emotional Intelligence Across Different Races for Justice-Involved Adolescence



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Emotional intelligence is the understanding of the emotional aspect of intellectual knowledge (Hammond, 2015). It is an important protective factor in youth mental health and achievement, as greater emotional intelligence is associated with positive outcomes like correctly identifying emotional responses/expressions, amount of social support of others, the extent of their satisfaction with social support, and appropriate emotional regulation (Ciarrochi et. al., 2001). Conversely, reduced emotional intelligence is a risk factor for juvenile justice involvement and is reduced for youth who grow up in poverty (Erhart et. al., 2019), experience adverse childhood experiences (Alvarado et. al., 2020), and experience developmental disruptions like trauma exposure (Panas, 2013). The aim of the current status is to examine how emotional intelligence differs by race for justice-involved youth. Using archival data from adolescents in a juvenile detention facility in Texas, the proposed research will examine mean levels of emotional intelligence and its sub-components by race and ethnicity. We hypothesize that youth of color, who are disproportionately exposed to poverty, adverse childhood experiences, and trauma (The State of America's Children, 2020), will have lower emotional intelligence than other justice-involved adolescents. Evaluating emotional intelligence levels in justice-involved youth of color is a first step in developing prevention programs for youth of color that can be implemented to reduce this risk factor and enhance the possible protective effects of emotional intelligence in this high-risk population.