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Emotional intelligence and academic performance of medical undergraduates: a cross-sectional study in a selected university in Sri Lanka

Emotional intelligence and academic performance of medical undergraduates: a cross-sectional study in a selected university in Sri Lanka

Bmc Medical Education 17(1): 176

Emotional intelligence (EI) has been linked with academic and professional success. Such data are scarce in Sri Lanka. This study was conducted to describe the pattern of EI, to determine its predictors and to determine the effect of EI on academic performance at the final MBBS examination, in medical undergraduates of a Sri Lankan university. This is a cross-sectional study in a selected university, involving those who did final MBBS examination in 2016. Consecutive sampling was done. EI was assessed with self-administered Genos Emotional Intelligence Full Version (7 domains; 70 questions equally weighted; total score 350). Socio-demographic data were obtained using a self-administered questionnaire. Academic performance was assessed with final MBBS results in the first attempt. Of 148 eligible students 130 responded (response rate-88%); 61.5% were females; mean age was 26.3 ± 1 years. Mean total EI score was 241.5 (females-245.5, males-235.1; p = 0.045).Among different domains, mean score was highest for Emotional Self-Awareness (36.8/50) and lowest for Emotional Expression (32.6/50). Multiple linear regression analysis indicated that having good family support (p = 0.002), socializing well in university (p = 0.024) and being satisfied with facilities available for learning (p = 0.002), were independent predictors of EI. At the final MBBS examination 51.6% obtained classes, 31.5% passed the examination without classes and 16.9% got repeated. Females had better academic performance than males (p = 0.009). Mean EI of second-class upper division, second-class lower division, pass and repeat groups were 249.4, 246.6, 240.2 and 226.9, respectively (with one-way ANOVA p = 0.015). After adjusting for gender, ordinal regression analysis indicated that, total EI score was an independent predictor of final MBBS results [β-0.018 (95% CI 0.005-0.031); p = 0.006]. In the study population, both EI and academic performance were higher among females. Independent of gender, academic performance was better in those who were more emotionally intelligent. Several psychosocial factors were found to be independent predictors of EI. These results suggest that emotional skills development might enhance academic performance of medical undergraduates in Sri Lanka. Further research is needed in this under-explored area.

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Accession: 059677220

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PMID: 28946877

DOI: 10.1186/s12909-017-1018-9

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