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The goals of this study were to identify groups of health-related behaviors among young adults (N = 314, Mage = 21.94, SD = 6.53), gauge the relation between emotional intelligence and health behaviors in this population, and assess health consciousness as mediator of said relation. Latent class analysis identified two mutually exclusive health behavior groups, which according to response patterns were labeled as Healthy and Unhealthy.The Healthy group(56%)was composed of individuals who had a healthy diet (i.e.,low fat and high fiber),exercised regularly,and who frequently engaged in behaviors that prevent oral and skin-related diseases. In contrast, the Unhealthy group (44%) rarely engaged in these health-promoting behaviors. Using structural equation modeling we found a negative relation between emotional intelligence and unhealthy behaviors relative to health-promoting ones. Mediation analyses indicated that the mechanism explaining said relation was through increments in health consciousness, with large standardized indirect effects ranging between −0.52 and −0.78. As health behaviors during early adulthood are salient predictors of health outcomes in old age, the results have clear implications for the inclusion of emotional intelligence training in programs seeking to raise health awareness and cultivate health promoting behaviors in young adults, in so much as to seek to reduce the risk of chronic ailments later in life.


This article was originally published in Frontiers in Psychology, available at DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02161.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0).



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