An Exploratory Study of Trait Emotional Intelligence and Mental Health in Freshmen Greek Medical Students

  • Maria Skokou
  • George Sakellaropoulos
  • Nektaria-Artemis Zairi
  • Philippos Gourzis
  • Ourania AndreopoulouEmail author


The present work aims at evaluating the concept of trait Emotional Intelligence (EI) and the correlation between EI variables and mental health problems in freshman year Greek medical students. Furthermore, we aim to reveal possible connections between these findings regarding gender and intended choice of medical specialty. A total of 206 first year students (81 males and 125 females) enrolled in the University of Patras School of Medicine in 2017, were invited voluntarily to complete on paper the TEIQue-LF for assessing trait EI, the Zung Self-Rating Anxiety and Depression Scale, as well as a demographic questionnaire. Male medical students did not differ from females in global trait EI (p = 0.292), however they scored significantly higher on self-esteem (p = 0.019), emotion regulation (p = 0.013), social awareness (p = 0.046), stress management (p = 0.050) and sociability (p = 0.050). Female medical students (n = 125) reported significantly higher levels of anxiety (p < 0.001) and depression (p < 0.004), compared to males (n = 81). Students aiming to specialize in psychiatry, had significantly lower scores in Happiness (p < 0.003), Optimism (p < 0.002) and Well-being (p < 0.0011), and also scored significantly higher in anxiety (p < 0.029). Male medical students reported being significantly more self-confident, more socially competent and better regulating their stress and emotions compared to females, who seemed to have more anxiety and depression at the beginning of their studies. Students who aimed to pursue psychiatry as specialty had more anxiety symptoms, less self-esteem and were less happy. The findings support the need for enhancing EI attributes and remediating students’ mental health problems, particularly in students of a certain emotional profile.


Emotional intelligence Mental health Medical students Medical education Choice of residency Depression Anxiety Trait emotional intelligence 



Emotional intelligence


Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire- Long Form



We would like to thank all the students who participated voluntarily in the study.

Authors’ Contributions

MS contributed to the design of the study, acquisition of the data, writing the manuscript and revising it critically. GS assisted with study design and performed the data analysis and revision of manuscript. NZ performed data collection. OA contributed to the design of the study, acquisition of the data, writing the manuscript and revising it critically. PG revised the final manuscript. All authors have read and approved this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethics Approval and Consent to Participate

The study was approved by the Committee of Ethics of the Patras University and was undertaken with the understanding and written consent of each subject and in full accordance with the principles of the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki.

Consent for Publication

Not Applicable.

Competing Interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

12144_2019_535_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 12 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychiatry DepartmentUniversity of Patras School of MedicineRio AchaiasGreece
  2. 2.Medical Physics DepartmentUniversity of Patras School of MedicineRio AchaiasGreece
  3. 3.University of Patras School of MedicineRio AchaiasGreece

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