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Abstract

Background and Purpose. The purpose of the admission process in the graduate physical therapy (PT) program is to evaluate information that can predict an individual’s potential for success in the program. To date there is no reliable way to predict clinical performance of physical therapy students. Emotional intelligence has been shown to predict clinical performance in other medical professions and may be a predictor for clinical performance in PT. Generic abilities of clinical performance are critically important in the PT profession and are evaluated using the Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI). This study examined the relationship between clinical performance and emotional intelligence. Subjects. Fifty-six graduate physical therapy students (46 female, 10 male) between the ages of 23 to 38 years (25.7 + 3.6 years) from four Eastern Massachusetts schools participated. Methods. Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI) scores (version 4), the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT version 2.0)scores, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, pre-requisite grade point averages (GPAs) and demographic information were collected. Results. Total CPI score (R2 = 0.36, p <0.02) and scores on individual items of Professional behavior (R2 = 0.31), Performing Interventions (R2 = 0.35, p < 0.04) and Performing an Examination (R2 = 0.28) were not significantly related to emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence was not significantly related to GRE scores (r =.14, p = 0.31) or pre-requisite school GPA (r = 0.10, p = 0.46). Discussion and Conclusion. Within the limitations of this research, the MSCEIT did not prove to be a successful predictor either by itself or in combination with other variables in predicting CPI performance. Future work with emotional intelligence surveys as predictors of CPI performance should start with examining those who pass the clinical experience part of the PT program compared to those who do not. After understanding the relationship between success and failure on the CPI, an examination of those that score high on theCPI versus those that merely pass could be studied.

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