Emotional Intelligence in Dpt Students: Effects of Specific Course Content and Clinical Experience
Purpose/Hypothesis: This study examined the impact of specific coursework as well clinical experience on emotional intelligence during the first year of a DPT curriculum. Number of Subjects: Subjects included a convenience sample of 60 Doctor of Physical Therapy student volunteers (33 female), recruited from the 2019 (second-year students) and 2020 (first year students) classes at the Franklin Pierce University Goodyear, Arizona campus. Materials and Methods: After obtaining informed consent, participants completed the Assessing Emotions Scale. This tool has demonstrated validity and reliability for assessment of emotional intelligence. Surveys were administered to students and results were analyzed for differences between emotional intelligence at the beginning of the curriculum and after one year using a Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Results: A Wilcoxon signed-rank test showed a statistically significant improvement in this sample for emotional intelligence between the beginning of the curriculum and at the end of the first year (Z = -4.220, p = .000). Median scores for emotional intelligence were 127.50 at beginning of curriculum and 134.75 after one year. Conclusions: In this sample of DPT students, there was a significant improvement in emotional intelligence scores after one year in the DPT program. Clinical Relevance: DPT curricula include coursework that promotes consideration of patient psychosocial issues. Clinical rotations become the first opportunities for a student to step into the role of a physical therapist. These experiences can facilitate an increase in emotional intelligence. These findings can be valuable for content considerations for DPT curricula.