Emotional Intelligence and Medical School Performance: A Prospective Multivariate Study
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Purpose: Emotional intelligence (EI) tests could prove useful in medical school admissions decisions. The purpose of this study was to determine (a) whether emotional intelligence predicts measures of success in medical school beyond cognitive ability and personality tests, and (b) whether a self-report or an ability-based test of EI would provide superior predictive validity. Methods: Medical students were administered two EI tests, including the Wong & Law Emotional Intelligence Scale (WLEIS) and the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT).1,2 Personality was measured by the NEO, and cognitive ability scores from the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) were obtained from admissions records.3 Success criteria were grades in medical school courses, national board examination scores, and clinical performance examination scores. Correlations between EI measures and success criteria were computed. Multiple regression models were computed using EI, MCAT, undergraduate grade-point average and personality scores for each criterion variable. Results: WLEIS scores did not correlate significantly with any of the criteria, but scores from the MSCEIT were correlated with grade point averages in medical school years three and four. Multiple regression results indicated that neither test of emotional intelligence added predictive value beyond cognitive ability and personality. Conclusions: Although the ability test (MSCEIT) was a better predictor than the self-report measure of EI (WLEIS), neither measure provided additional predictive information beyond that of cognitive ability and personality.
KeywordsEmotional intelligence medical school admissions medical student success MCAT personality NEO GPA cognitive tests non-cognitive tests MSCEIT
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