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Title Emotional Intelligence (EI) Tests Can Predict a Dental Student’s Clinical Performance
Clinical Question Among dental students, does performance on an emotional intelligence (EI) test predict students’ success in the clinical phase of the curriculum?
Clinical Bottom Line An emotional intelligence (EI) score can be an indicator of dental students’ performance in the clinical environment. However, there are many EI instruments now in use with different scoring systems. Future research can be enhanced by a gold standard EI measurement instrument that can be used to compare students across multiple studies based on the same scale.
Best Evidence (you may view more info by clicking on the PubMed ID link)
PubMed ID Author / Year Patient Group Study type
(level of evidence)
#1) 23576587Victoroff/2013136 third- and fourth-year dental studentsProspective Cohort Study
Key resultsThe investigators used an EI test known as the Emotional Competence Inventory-University Version (ECI-U), which measures four dimensions: Self Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. The investigators found a statistically significant correlation between Self-Management (emotional self-control, initiative, achievement orientation, trustworthiness, adaptability, optimism) and students’ clinical grades. Students who scored higher on the “Self Awareness” (candid self-appraisal) scale of the ECI-U also tended to have higher clinical evaluations, but the correlation was not quite significant. Social Awareness and Relationship Management were far more important for success in the didactic phase of the curriculum. The authors concluded that dental students with high scores for these EI dimensions exhibited more sophisticated abilities in building relationships and networking that enhanced their ability to work collaboratively and to learn from others in study groups, leading to better grades.
#2) 20646037Azimi/2010123 senior studentsProspective Cohort Study
Key resultsForty-four percent of the patients were deeply satisfied with students who scored high on the Emotional Competence Inventory-University (ECI-U), while only 3.3% of patients were satisfied with students with lower EI scores. Approximately one-third (33.3%) of patients indicated they were unsatisfied with the first meeting impression for students with low EI scores. Overall, a statistically significant relationship between the general EI scores of students and patient satisfaction level was observed (r = 0.407).
Evidence Search ("emotional intelligence"[MeSH Terms] OR ("emotional"[All Fields] AND "intelligence"[All Fields]) OR "emotional intelligence"[All Fields]) AND ("students, dental"[MeSH Terms] OR ("students"[All Fields] AND "dental"[All Fields]) OR "dental students"[All Fields] OR ("dental"[All Fields] AND "students"[All Fields]))
Comments on
The Evidence
Validity: The idea of emotional intelligence (EI) affecting clinical performance has merit, and deserves further exploration. Several studies have shown that students with higher EI scores are able to connect with patient and peers and perform better than those with lower EI scores. Patient satisfaction surveys have further backed up this idea as nearly all patients were satisfied with their treatment by students with higher scores. Further investigation of the idea of making emotional intelligence testing a component of the dental school admissions process or using EI scores for guidance of students during their training is inhibited by the lack of standardization among the various EI tests currently available. The varying methodologies for evaluation of emotional intelligence leaves room for criticism of how realistic the scores can be in reflecting students’ performance. Additionally, EI investigations have used many different outcome measures to correlate with emotional intelligence. Perspective: The topic of emotional intelligence is often overlooked as a standard way of evaluating dental students and their possible future performance abilities in the clinical environment. If EI testing is implemented properly as a diagnostic tool, dental students who might struggle in clinic with not being able to connect with their patients could be identified early and receive guidance. This support could reduce student stress and also enhance patient retention in the clinic.
Applicability Though limited to students currently undergoing a four-year dental curriculum, the use of emotional intelligence scores can help improve students’ efficiency when working with patients and might improve the quality of their clinical care.
Specialty/Discipline (General Dentistry)
Keywords emotional intelligence, academic performance, dental education, clinical education
ID# 3180
Date of submission: 03/27/2017spacer
E-mail Celedon@livemail.uthscsa.edu
Author Juan A. Celedon, BS, MS
Co-author(s) e-mail
Faculty mentor/Co-author William D. Hendricson, M.A., M.S.
Faculty mentor/Co-author e-mail Hendricson@uthscsa.edu
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