Gender Differences in Emotional Intelligence Scores from the Initial to Final Year of Dpt School.
Purpose/Hypothesis: PT educators are tasked with developing competent clinicians whom upon graduation, can provide effective and compassionate care. There is a paucity of research, however, of how a student’s emotional intelligence may help or hinder this process. Emotional Intelligence (EI)Total Scores can be differentiated into personal attributes such as self-perception, self-expression, interpersonal skills, decision-making, stress management, and happiness. The purpose of this study is to describe and compare the elements of change for selected domains of the EI score from the Initial (first academic year) to the Final (third academic year) in a select group of entry-level DPT students to published normative values and to determine if gender differences in EI scores exist. Number of Subjects: Four cohorts of 140 DPT students, with students self-identifying gender 89 women (age 23.5 ± 3.1; range 21-39 years) and 51 men (age 23.1 ± 1.4; range 21-28 years) Materials and Methods: For this descriptive study, the Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (EQi2.0, MHS, Inc.), a 133 question self-assessment was administered and completed by 140 students during their first and third years of DPT school. Descriptive statistics were used to compare mean EI scores for the selected domains to published normative values and to determine gender differences in the collected EI scores from the initial to final time-points of measurement. Results: For the population studied, Happiness and Total EI for both genders, and Self-Perception for men, were higher than published normative values. Self-expression, Interpersonal skills, Decision-making, and Stress Management for both genders, and Self-Perception for women, were lower than published normative values. All composites scores improved from initial to final time-points, and were higher in men than in women, with the exception of Interpersonal skills. The greatest degree of change of EI scores from the Initial to Final EI scores for men was Total EI (5.1), followed by Decision-making (4.6). For women, the greatest degree of change of EI scores from Initial to Final scores was Decision-making (5.6), followed by Total EI (5). Conclusions: The results indicate that gender differences may exist for certain domains included in EI scores when assessed during DPT school. Future research should further examine differences between EI scores and gender to determine how this may effect student performance in both the classroom and clinic. Clinical Relevance: The Total EI score is meant to capture how successful one is at perceiving and expressing oneself, developing and maintaining social relationships, coping with challenges, and using emotional information in an effective and meaningful way. Mechanisms for implementing structured pedagogical experiences to promote the awareness and development of DPT students should be further explored as emotional intelligence is critical for success in clinical practice, and communication with self and others in the context of engaged professionalism.