Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Emotional Intelligence: A Comparison between Medical and Non-Medical Students

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Emotional Intelligence: A Comparison between Medical and Non-Medical Students

Article excerpt


In recent years, emotional intelligence (EI) has emerged as one of the vital elements of success and interpersonal relations in everyday life (1). This construct has been defined as "the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions" (2, 3). Accordingly, not only are people with high EI aware of their own emotions, but they are also able to have a good understanding of others' emotions and use this ability to manage and adjust their behavior when communicating with others (4).

On the other hand, EI can affect the health of individuals, (5) therefore proving to be positively associated with self-rated physical and mental health (2, 6-8). Moreover, EI has effect on intellectual and emotional evolution and can affect the educational achievement and occupational aspects of life (9). EI, in addition to forming behaviors and actions, can also positively affect learning (3, 10) and problem solving (3, 4).

Existing evidences demonstrate an increasing attention to EI as a necessary criterion for the admission of students in educational fields including medicine. The value of characteristics such as empathy, communication and interpersonal skills in medicine has been considered the same as cognitive intelligence (11). Emotions, as a valuable source of information, can be used to solve educational problems. Therefore, EI as a predictor of success has become the central focus of medical education (3). Therefore, while some issues such as emotional maturity, self-identification and personal health are vital to success in the medical field, EI has also become increasingly important (12). On the other hand, individuals with limited emotional skills may experience more stress and emotional problems during their academic yr. Meanwhile lower levels of EI in students can also lead to appearance of behavioral problems such as disruptive behavior disorders (1).

There are a number of hypotheses regarding the difference in EI between medical and nonmedical students (13, 14). Nonetheless, to our best knowledge, not enough evidence exists to prove these hypotheses. Moreover, in spite of its importance, little attention has been paid to the adjusted association between EI and its predictors, and studies focused on this issue are still inadequate. Meanwhile, regarding the improvable nature of the EI, (15, 16) identification of its modifiable associated predictors can help design effective interventions in order to promoting students' EI.

Therefore, this study has been conducted to estimate mean of EI and its domains their adjusted association with some potential predictors in the medical and nonmedical students in Iran.

Material and Methods


Nine hundred and thirty students of Tehran University and Tehran University of Medical Sciences were invited to participate in this cross-sectional

study from October 2011 to January 2012. The reference population consisted of three groups of medical, paramedical and non-medical students with the exception of postgraduate students (PhD and MA). We used multi stage cluster sampling as our sampling strategy. For this, we defined our sampling frame as following: In the first stage, the faculties were defined as our primary sampling units. Then, departments were selected as secondary sampling units. Finally, the different fields in each of departments were defined as tertiary (main) units. Tertiary units were sampled proportional to size of faculties. After clarifying the study goals, whole of students in each of the main units were requested to participate in the study. Therefore, the sampling strategy and excellent response rate (94%) had minimized the chance of any selection bias.

Data collection tools

The Farsi version of the EI Scale-41 (FEIS-41); The Farsi version of revised Schutte emotional intelligence (FEIS-41) (17) was used to measure EI. …

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