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Title: The Emotional Intelligence of Resident Physicians
Authors: McKinley, Sophia Kim
Keywords: medical education;surgical education;emotional intelligence;graduate medical education;gender differences
Issue Date: May-2014
Publisher: Harvard University
Description: Since academic literature indicates that emotional intelligence (EI) is tied to work performance, there is increasing interest in understanding physician EI. We studied the EI of resident physicians in surgery, pediatric, and pathology residency programs at three academic centers to describe the EI profiles of residents in different specialties and determine whether gender differences in resident physician EI profiles mirror those in the general population. 325 residents were electronically invited to complete the validated Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue), a tool comprised of 153 items that cluster to 15 independent facets, 4 composite factors, and 1 global EI score. The overall response rate was 42.8% (n=139, 84 women). Global EI of all residents (mean=101.0, SD=8.0) was comparable to the general population sample and was not statistically different between specialties or genders. EI profiling demonstrated distinct strengths and opportunities for development between specialty groups with an effect of specialty on sociability factor (p=0.005) and five TEIQue facets including optimism, stress management, emotion management, assertiveness, and social awareness (p=0.008-0.043). Women scored higher than men in emotionality factor (p=0.044) and the TEIQue facets impulse control, empathy, relationships, and self-motivation (p=0.004-0.049). Men scored higher than women in sociability factor (p=0.034) and 2 facets including stress management and emotion management (p=0.008-0.023). Linear regression demonstrated that age had a statistically significant predictive relationship with Global EI, though the effect was small (B=0.033, p=0.014). These findings suggest that similar to the general population, male and female residents may benefit from specific training of different EI domains to enhance well-rounded development. EI profiling may also inform future educational programming decisions for each specialty. Future research should focus on the functional relationship between educational interventions that promote targeted EI development and enhanced clinical performance.
Other Identifiers: McKinley, Sophia Kim. 2014. The Emotional Intelligence of Resident Physicians. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Medical School.
Appears in Collections:HMS Theses and Dissertations

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