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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 83-86

The effect of emotional intelligence on academic performance of medical undergraduates


1 Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan
2 Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Karachi, Pakistan

Date of Web Publication26-Jul-2017

Correspondence Address:
Farah Ahmed
Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi
Pakistan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.211646

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  Abstract 

Aim: To determine the association between Emotional Intelligence and academic performances of medical students at undergraduate level. Background: In our field of medical education, intelligence quotient is considered as a successful interpreter of academic performance and intelligence. However, little importance has been given to EI. Our study examined the relationship between EI and academic performance or workforce of preclinical medical students (1st and 2nd year MBBS students of Jinnah Sindh Medical University). Methods: We used a prospective, cross sectional study design and measured the EI by questionnaire based on a study by Petrides and Furnham, 2006. The grade point average (GPA) of their last semester was used to analyze the academic performance. Nonprobability consecutive technique was done. Our sample size comprises of 120 students out of which 14 were males and 106 were females of 1st and 2nd year of MBBS. The structured paper-based questionnaire also included pretest demographic information which was filled by the students, after taking a verbal consent. The data were collected in the month of July 1, 2015–July 30, 2015. Results: The number of participants was 120. The response rate was 100%. The result revealed that out of 4 factors, 2 were the most significant: well-being (P = 0.005) and sociability (P = 0.01). The value of EI was significantly higher in the male than in the female students. Conclusion: Our study proved a strong relationship between academic performance in terms of higher GPA and two individual factors of EI that were well-being and sociability. Overall EI values of male students were statistically higher and significant than female students. Thus, appropriate measures should be taken to strengthen emotional well-being in medical students for better academic performances.

Keywords: Academic performance, emotional intelligence, medical students, workforce


How to cite this article:
Ahmed F, Mehak A, Ali S, Khan A, Shehzad S, Baloch Q, Abid I. The effect of emotional intelligence on academic performance of medical undergraduates. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2017;3:83-6

How to cite this URL:
Ahmed F, Mehak A, Ali S, Khan A, Shehzad S, Baloch Q, Abid I. The effect of emotional intelligence on academic performance of medical undergraduates. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2017 [cited 2017 Aug 23];3:83-6. Available from: http://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2017/3/2/83/211646


  Introduction Top


Emotional intelligence (EI) came into the talk in late 1930s when “social intelligence” became the part of research topics.[1]

In our field of medical education in intelligence quotient (IQ) is considered as a successful interpreter of academic performance and intelligence. However, little importance has been given to EI. EI is defined as an individual's ability to show his emotions along with to comprehend others' emotions to act and think empathically.[2],[3] While Goleman [4] defined EI as “managing feelings so that they are expressed appropriately and effectively, enabling people to work together smoothly toward their common goals”.

It is suggested by various studies that EI has a connection with individual's success academically and not to mention professionally too.[5],[6] Over and above EI helps one to assess the situation, regulate the thinking process and facilitates to act rightly in an appropriate way; which ultimately aid in achieving the academic goal.[7] Although the knowledge of “Emotional Intelligence” had already been in existence long before. It was brought into spotlight by psychologist named Daniel Goleman, who ran various programs to study EI and cumulated all the informative data.[8],[9] According to him EI has five domains which include empathy, self regulation, emotional motives, self-awareness, and the ability to form relationships.[8],[9] A study conducted by Rode et al. (2007) predicted that emotional intelligence was related to academic performance for two reasons. First, academic performance involves a great deal of ambiguity. Second, majority of academic work is self-directed, requiring high levels of self-management. Therefore, individuals with high emotional intelligence would perform better academically.[10] One of the study revealed that EI has a connection with academic performance and that study presented two possible reasons for the theory. “First, academic performance involves a great deal of ambiguity. Second, majority of academic work is self-directed, requiring high levels of self-management. Therefore, individuals with high emotional intelligence would perform better academically”.[10]

The present paper help to evaluate EI in preclinical medical students of Jinnah Sindh Medical University. We only selected preclinical medical students (1st and 2nd year) because their main focus is theoretical semester exams as opposed to clinical students (3rd, 4th, and 5th year) who have to study for their wards with proper clinical rotations.


  Methods Top


We used a cross-sectional study design and random sampling was done. The Sample size came out to be 120, taking the population size of 163 and alpha @o.o5 and margin of error at 5% using www.openepi.com.[11] Students of 1st and 2nd year of MBBS including 14 boys and 106 girls were selected for this study. A verbal consent was taken from all the students. The questionnaire comprised demographic parameters, academic related questions, and structured questionnaire used for the calculation of EQ. Demographic parameters included age, gender, family members, and family income. Academic-related questions included student's last semester grade point average (GPA), qualification of father and mother and different questions regarding student's social behavior and physical and mental well-being. GPA was particularly used to evaluate the academic performance of medical students. EI was measured with the simplified Grade Point Average was particularly used to evaluate the academic performance of medical students. Emotional Intelligence was measured with the simplified structured questionnaire known as TEIQue-SF which consists of 30 items.[12] The duration of the study was 1 month (1st July 2015 - 30th July, 2015)..


  Results Top


A total of 120 students from 1st and 2nd year MBBS were selected for this study after a verbal consent. There were 14 male students (11.7%) and 106 female students (88.3%), and the response rate was 100%. 59.2% (n = 71) were students of 1st year and the rest of the students 40.8% (n = 49) belonged to 2nd year. Mean age was 19 ± 1.

The relation between EI and academic performance of pre-clinical medical students was measured using the simplified (TEIQue-SF) using 4 which are mentioned in the [Table 1] below.
Table 1: Indicators of emotional intelligence, well-being, self-control, emotionality, and sociability

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Statistically, well-being and sociability had a significant relationship with the academic achievements of the students. However, self-control and emotionality were insignificant with the GPA/academic performances. It was found that the students with >3 GPA showed higher emotional well-being in contrast to the students with <3 GPA, with the P value being 0.005. Furthermore, higher sociability was associated with higher GPA (>3) with the P = 0.01, which is highly significant.

All the demographic factors came out to be insignificant, with the exception of gender. Male medical students showed higher EI than the female medical students with overall statistically significant P = 0.02. P values of all other parameters of EI were more significant in males than in females, i.e., well-being (P = 0.009), self-control (P = 0.003), emotionality (P = 0.04), and sociability (P = 0.001). This result indicates a strong relationship between EI and academic performance among male students than in female students [Table 2] and [Table 3].
Table 2: Was there a peer pressure while replying to the grade point average question?

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Table 3: Have you truly replied to the grade point average question?

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  Discussion Top


Medical profession is a well-known stressful job.[13] Hence, the medical students require to control emotions to get high academic achievements and excel in clinical practice. That is why EI comes out as much important as IQ. Some studies have found EI factor for times superior on the success in a professional career than IQ.[14]

We only selected preclinical medical students (1st and 2nd year) because their main focus is theoretical semester exams as opposed to clinical students (3rd, 4th, and 5th year) who have to study for their wards with proper clinical rotations. We calculated the academic performance by considering the GPA of their last semester exams. Since during preclinical years GPA is purely calculated through the evaluation of academic courses whereas in clinical years, medical students have to focus on both academic courses and clinical learning thus this was done with the intention to avoid the cofounders.

In earlier studies on similar topics, no definite conclusion between the relationship of EI and academic performance was found, especially through self-report questionnaires. In a study by Hansenne and Legrand, 2012, EI of 73 pupils was evaluated as a trait using the TEIQue-CF tool, but no significant effect was found on their educational performance.[12] We also utilized the TEIQue-CF tool and evaluated EI using four parameters, i.e., EI, well-being, self-control, emotionality, and sociability. These parameters are successful predictors in understanding students' emotional health which influences their academic outcomes and social life.[15],[16] The wellbeing domain had highest value (5.1) while the other components were found to have the following values, emotionality (4.6), self-control (4.3) and sociability (4.2), similar to another study conducted by Maria Stamatopoulou, et al.[16]

In our study, conducted on 120 students including 14 males (11.7%) and 106 females (88.3%), well-being (P = 0.005) and sociability (P = 0.01) were statistically significant, showing that students with higher sociability have higher GPA. Students with more than 3 were found to have greater mean value of wellbeing than with the less GPA ones.

Statistically, other indicators, self-control, and emotionality were not significant for the high academic achievements in our study. However, in other study conducted by Platsidou, 2005, the solely remarkable connection enlightened was among academic performance and emotional management.[12] In another study by Furguson et al, medical students with high emotional stability accomplished effectively in 3 of the total 8 assessments.[17]

Our demographic data comprised age, gender, professional year of medical school, family members, and family income, out of which only gender was the significant factor in our study. Comparatively, males had a higher EI than females with overall statistically significant P value (P = 0.02). Furthermore, all parameters of EI were more significant in males, i.e., well-being (P = 0.009), self-control (P = 0.003), emotionality (P = 0.04), and sociability (P = 0.001) than females. This shows that males have a more profound role of EI in their academic performance than females, who tend to rely more on their IQ.

Another study also showed that boys had an existent connection between EI and motivation for academic performance while in girls no such relation was found.[10]

While in oppose, a study on the students of London Medical School found higher EI among females.[18] Another study by Austin found a tentative evidence between EI and academic performance without any conclusive relationship.[19],[20]

Generally, age is considered a significant factor in learning capability as it is a reliable index for measuring maturity which ultimately aids in better learning outcomes.[21] In oppose to this our study revealed that age had a non-significant relationship with EI and academic performance.

Till date no study has brought the idea of degree of EI inheritance yet.[22] It is believed that EI has both biological as well as some environmental influence.[22] In our medical schools, we should educate students about the influence of EI on their routine, social life, academic performance and emotional health, and how to overcome their stress, emotional strain, and anxiety by strengthening their EI.

Students with low EI need special attention and guidance to enhance their learning abilities and better performance in exams and training the students in regards of EI will help them to control and understand their own emotions and will also facilitate them in making a good decision in academics as well as in clinical grounds.[23] Hence, to achieve more and enhance academic achievements emotional aspect must not be overlooked and fulfillment in this dimension is also needed.[24]


  Conclusion Top


As it has been claimed by many studies that EI predicts success at work a good EI ensure bright academic achievement. EI plays a key role in guiding our thinking, behavior, mood, and cognition. High EI, therefore, predicts better academic performance by promoting a positive self-image, hope, and courage. Hence, EI should be equally considered with IQ to ensure improved learning outcomes. Our study reveals that EI, especially sociability and wellbeing, showed strong association with better academic performance of preclinical medical students. These results hold true for every individual regardless of their age and ethnicity. However, in our study, males showed a relatively positive correlation with EI than females. Thus, EI training should be conducted to enhance the academic performance and to reduce health-care workforce on them.

Limitations

Our study included only medical students of Jinnah Sindh Medical University. Due to unavailability of resources, we could not conduct this research on students of other fields and universities.

Acknowledgment

We acknowledge all the participants for taking part in this study.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

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