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Emotional intelligence score and performance of dental undergraduates


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and undergraduate dental students’ ability to deal with different situations of communication in a clinical dentistry practical training course of communication skills. Fourth-year students in 2012 and in 2013 at the Nippon Dental University School of Life Dentistry at Niigata participated in the survey. The total number of participating students was 129 (88 males and 41 females). The students were asked to complete the Japanese version of the Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test in communication skills. Female students tended to have significantly higher EI score than males. The EI score in the group with high-grade academic performers was higher than in the low-grade group. The influence of EI on academic performance appeared to be mainly due to the students’ ability to accurately perceiving emotions and to their ability to understand emotional issues. The importance of EI may also lie in its ability to parse out personality factors from more changeable aspects of a person’s behavior. Although further studies are required, we believe that dental educators need to assume the responsibility to help students develop their emotional competencies that they will need to prosper in their chosen careers. In our conclusion, dental educators should support low achievers to increase their levels of self-confidence instead of concentrating mainly on improving their technical skill and academic performance. This may lead to upgrading their skills for managing emotions and to changing their learning approach.

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We thank Professor Shin-Ichi Tsukada, School of Education, Meisei University, for help in the statistical analyses.

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Correspondence to Yuh Hasegawa.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Approval for the study was granted by the Committee on the Ethics of Human Experimentation, Nippon Dental University School of Life Dentistry at Niigata (Approval No. ECNG-H-94). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. All students who participated in the study signaled their agreement on a consent form. Participation was voluntary, and only data from consenting students were employed in the study.

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Hasegawa, Y., Ninomiya, K., Fujii, K. et al. Emotional intelligence score and performance of dental undergraduates. Odontology 104, 397–401 (2016).

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  • Dental students
  • Communication skills
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Dental education