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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 12-15

Emotional intelligence among medical undergraduates, interns, postgraduates, and medical practitioners


1 Post Graduate, Department of Psychiatry, Mamata Medical College, Khammam, Telangana, India
2 Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Mamata Medical College, Khammam, Telangana, India
3 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Pratima Medical College, Karimnagar, Telangana, India
4 Professor and HOD, Department of Psychiatry, Mamata Medical College, Khammam, Telangana, India
5 Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Mamata Medical College, Khammam, Telangana, India
6 Clinical Psychologist, Department of Psychiatry, Mamata Medical College, Khammam, Telangana, India

Date of Submission18-Aug-2019
Date of Decision03-Jan-2020
Date of Acceptance10-Feb-2020
Date of Web Publication03-Jul-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vishnu Gade
Department of Psychiatry, Pratima Medical College, Karimnagar, Telangana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/AMH.AMH_16_19

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  Abstract 

Introduction: Emotional intelligence (EI) impacts many different aspects of daily life, such as the way one behaves and interacts with others. Empathy, one of the five elements of EI, is considered to be the most important psychosocial factor of inpatient care. An assessment of EI and empathy would help health-care professionals give better patient-centered care.
Aims and Objectives: This study aims to assess the various components of EI among medical students and professionals and study its relation with personal and social factors.
Materials and Methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted with a sample that consists of 200 participants in Mamata Medical College, Khammam and Pratima Medical College, Karimnagar, Telangana during a period of 6 months (2018). A semi-structured pro forma is used to collect sociodemographic profile and the emotional quotient self-assessment checklist by Sterrett is used to measure EI and empathy.
Results: There is a significant negative correlation between work hours and empathy, individuals with lesser work hours scored higher on empathy and social competence. There is also a significant negative correlation between motivation and sleep hours, individuals with more number of sleep hours scored lesser on motivation. Those who exercised scored higher on self-awareness and social competence as compared to those who never exercised. Individuals with a greater number of friends in the workplace scored significantly higher in confidence and motivation.
Conclusion: The current study supports that good work relations, empathy, and exercise have a positive correlation with various domains of EI.

Keywords: Emotional intelligence, emotional quotient self-assessment, empathy, medical professionals


How to cite this article:
Kasam LS, Macharapu R, Gade V, R. Mallepalli PK, Babu RS, Manjula S. Emotional intelligence among medical undergraduates, interns, postgraduates, and medical practitioners. Arch Ment Health 2020;21:12-5

How to cite this URL:
Kasam LS, Macharapu R, Gade V, R. Mallepalli PK, Babu RS, Manjula S. Emotional intelligence among medical undergraduates, interns, postgraduates, and medical practitioners. Arch Ment Health [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Aug 10];21:12-5. Available from: http://www.amhonline.org/text.asp?2020/21/1/12/288914


  Introduction Top


Emotional intelligence (EI) is referred more frequently in medicine and other health-care disciplines. Its importance for professional mental health, as well as effective practice, is being widely recognized.[1] EI is defined as “a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and other's emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions.”[2]

EI consists of five domains – self-awareness, empathy, self-regulation, motivation, and social competence. Self-awareness, or the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions, is an important part of EI.

EI requires that a person be able to regulate and manage one's emotions. Those who are good at self-regulation adapt well to new and varied circumstances. They manage conflicts well and are also adept at controlling tense or difficult situations. They also realize how they affect others and own up to the consequences of their actions.

Empathy is the ability to understand how others are feeling. Being empathetic also helps us to understand the various power dynamics, and the appropriate behavior in our day-to-day lives, especially in workplace settings. Those competent in this area can sense who possess power in different relationships, understand how these forces influence feelings and behaviors, and accurately interpret different situations that hinge on such power dynamics.

True emotional understanding involves more than just understanding one's own emotions and the feelings of others – it also means to be able to put this information to work in daily interactions and communications. Some important social skills for better interaction include active listening, verbal communication skills, nonverbal communication skills, leadership, and persuasiveness.

EI has a meaningful role in academic success, mental and physical health, as well as attainment in professional domains. Focusing on the impact of EI on one's resilience, that is, the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to precrisis status quickly, research suggests that those who display higher levels of EI are less likely to succumb to the negative impacts of stressors.

Given the dynamic nature of EI, the study.[3] highlighted the potential ability to reduce one's susceptibility to depression by way of interventions to increase EI. Utilizing and developing EI in the workplace can significantly improve the personal and social capabilities of individuals within that workplace.

Studies have also concluded that patients most value empathy, support, and information from their physicians.[4],[5],[6],[7] Therefore, it has become increasingly important to promote EI among medical professionals, especially when we are striving toward health care that is more patient-centered. The recent introduction of empathy in the new curriculum of medical undergraduates in India is hence a step in the right direction.

It is believed that EI is not fixed early in life and efforts can be made to increase our emotional quotient, and hence, it has become even more important to understand what it means to be emotionally intelligent, know the five domains of it, to figure out which part of the emotional quotient we are lacking, and strive toward improving it.


  Materials and Methods Top


Place of study

This is a cross-sectional study that consists of 200 participants in Mamata Medical College, Khammam, Telangana, and Pratima Medical College, Karimnagar, Telangana.

Study period

The study was undertaken from July 2018 to December 2018.

Study sample

The study sample consisted of a group of 200 participants, 50 undergraduates, 50 interns, 50 postgraduates, and 50 practitioners. Convenience sampling method was used to collect the data.

Inclusion criteria

Individuals belonging to the medical profession and those who were willing to give written consent were included in this study.

Exclusion criteria

The patients who had any diagnosed psychiatric illness as per history and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Diagnosing Mental Disorders were not included in the study.


  Instruments Top


A semi-structured pro forma is used to collect a sociodemographic profile, and the Emotional Quotient Self-Assessment Checklist by Sterrett is used to measure EI and empathy.[8] It consists of 30 statements, 5 each of the areas given below:

  1. Self-dimension, which includes self-awareness (accurately knowing our own feelings, preferences, goals, and values), self-confidence (a “can do” attitude, a belief in ourselves; overcoming self-doubt, and taking reasonable risk), and self-control (dealing well with stress; controlling emotional moods or outbursts without overcontrol)
  2. The social dimension, which includes empathy (easily reading and understanding others; listening well and reading nonverbal cues), motivation (taking initiative, having a positive outlook, inspiring others, and so on), and social competence (persuading and influencing others, being likable and having positive relationships).


This is a 5-point Likert rating scale, ranging from 1 to 5; total score on each of six facets ranges from 5 to 25, and a cutoff value for good EI is 20 in each domain.

Data analysis

Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS statistics for windows, Version 24.0. (Armonk, NY: IBM Corp). The correlation of demographic factors with empathy and EI was measured using the Pearson's correlation method.


  Results Top


The following study consists of 87 males and 113 females as mentioned in [Table 1]. The sample consists of 50 undergraduates, 50 interns, 50 postgraduates, and 50 medical practitioners. Among the 200 individuals 87 were single, 101 were married and 12 were in a relationship. Refer [Table 1].
Table 1: Demographic variables: Percentage of various genders, relationship statuses and qualification s in the study sample

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The percentage of individuals who scored below 20 in each domain of emotional intelligence is mentioned in [Table 2].
Table 2: EI component and percentage of individuals who scored below 20

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Majority of the individuals have obtained a low score (<20) in all the domains. 77% of individuals have low self confidence and 75.5 % of individuals have a low score in social competence. These domains are followed by self control (71.5%), empathy(59%) and self awareness (55.5%). Refer [Table 2].

The correlation between EI and various factors was assessed using the Pearson's correlation method. The findings are given in [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5].
Table 3: Correlation of age and work relationship with various domains of emotional intelligence

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Table 4: Correlation of working hours and the number of sleep hours with the various domains of emotional intelligence

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Table 5: Correlation of time spent on recreational activities and exercise with various components of emotional intelligence

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There was no significant correlation between age and any of the subscales of EI. Work relations had a significant positive correlation with confidence motivation and self-control.

Work hours have a significant negative correlation with empathy and social competence, i.e., the greater the work hours, the lesser the empathy, and social competence.

Sleep hours have a negative correlation with motivation; people with a greater number of sleep hours have lesser motivation.

Recreational activities have a very strong correlation with all components of EI and overall EI.

Exercise had a strong positive correlation with self-awareness and social competence.


  Discussion Top


The awareness of one's own emotions aids in dealing with stress, makes communication easier and improves work place relationships. Many studies agree on the fact that EI relates to higher academic and professional performance.

The study measured the components of EI of 200 individuals of the medical profession, consisting of 50 medical undergraduates, 50 interns, 50 postgraduates, and 50 practitioners using the Emotional Quotient Self-Assessment Checklist by Sterrett.

According to this study the greater the number of work hours, the lesser is the EI. This finding compared with that of Faye, et al.[9] who reported that residents who worked more than 50 h/week were less emotionally intelligent. In this study, age showed no significant correlation with EI. The amount of time spent on recreational activities and exercise has a significant effect on EI. This finding is supported by a study done by Shetty et al.[10]

Many of the individuals who volunteered to participate in the study scored <20 in various subscales of the questionnaire. This finding is also seen in the aforementioned study of Shetty et al.[10] EI in conjunction with interpersonal relations showed a positive correlation between the two domains in a study conducted by Arora et al.[11]


  Conclusion Top


  • There is a significant negative correlation between work hours and empathy, individuals with lesser work hours scored high on empathy and social competence
  • There is also a significant negative correlation between motivation and sleep hours, individuals with sleep hours scored less on motivation
  • Those who exercised scored higher on self-awareness and social competence as compared to those who never exercised
  • Individuals with a greater number of friends in the workplace scored significantly high in confidence and motivation.


Hence, the study provides insight that excessive work hours decrease the empathetic ability of individuals, while good work relations and exercise promote various domains of EI. It also helps understand the importance of sparing a few hours for recreational activities as individuals who do so, have significantly high scores in all areas of EI.

Limitations

This study has a few limitations. Small sample size, and the use of convenient sampling are some of the limitations of the present study that needs to be taken into consideration before planning further research.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Pau AK, Croucher R. Emotional intelligence and perceived stress in dental undergraduates. J Dent Educ 2003;67:1023-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Mayer JD, DiPaolo M, Salovey P. Perceiving affective content in ambiguous visual stimuli: A component of emotional intelligence. J Pers Assess 1990;54:772-81.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
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Lin DT, Liebert CA, Tran J, Lau JN, Salles A. Emotional Intelligence as a predictor of resident well-being. J Am Coll Surg 2016;223:352-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
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Little P, Everitt H, Williamson I, Warner G, Moore M, Gould C, et al. Observational study of effect of patient centredness and positive approach on outcomes of general practice consultations. BMJ 2001;323:908-11.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
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Mechanic D, Meyer S. Concepts of trust among patients with serious illness. Soc Sci Med 2000;51:657-68.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
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Coulter A. Patients' views of the good doctor. BMJ 2002;325:668-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
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Wensing M, Jung HP, Mainz J, Olesen F, Grol R. A systematic review of the literature on patient priorities for general practice care. Part 1: Description of the research domain. Soc Sci Med 1998;47:1573-88.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Sterrett EA. The Manager's Pocket Guide to Emotional Intelligence. 2nd ed. Mumbai: Jaico Publishing House; 2004. p. 22-4.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Faye A, Kalra G, Swamy R, Shukla A, Subramanyam A, Kamath R. Study of emotional intelligence and empathy in medical postgraduates. Indian J Psychiatry 2011;53:140-4.  Back to cited text no. 9
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
10.
Shetty S, Venkatappa KG, Parakandy SG, Sparshadeep EM, Das SK. Assessment of emotional intelligence in first year medical students: A questionnaire based study. IOSR J Dent Med Sci 2013;3:23-6.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Arora S, Ashrafian H, Davis R, Athanasiou T, Darzi A, Sevdalis N. Emotional intelligence in medicine: A systematic review through the context of the ACGME competencies. Med Educ 2010;44:749-64.  Back to cited text no. 11
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]



 

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