An Assessment of Emotional Intelligence in Medical, Physician Assistant, and Athletic Training Students

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Background: Research suggests that a key piece of any successful patient-provider interaction is emotional intelligence (EI), or the awareness of one’s emotions and the ability to manage them competently. It has been suggested that EI is declining amongst healthcare professionals.

Objective: This study sought to evaluate the differences in overall EI among medical (MS), athletic training (AT), and physician assistant (PA) students in their first- and second-year of training, with additional emphasis on gender identity and race/ethnicity.

Methods: EI questionnaires were collected via the Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale (EIS). Two one-way ANOVAs were conducted to determine mean differences in EI and academic program and year in school. Kruskal Wallis tests were conducted to evaluate EI and gender identity and race/ethnicity.

Results: No significant differences were observed in mean EI in degree program (MS, AT, and PA) or year in school (first and second). However, significant differences were observed in males, scoring higher than females, and across racial/ethnic subgroups.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates EI differences in men and women that do not agree with previous literature, worthy of further exploration. Differences in EI among various racial/ethnic groups suggests that EI is related to cultural factors. EI implementation in curricula should be culturally competent in order to maximize effectiveness and improve future patient care.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages9
JournalOklahoma State Medical Proceedings
Issue number3
StatePublished - 11 Dec 2023


  • patient-centered care
  • patient-provider interaction


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