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Abstract

Emotional intelligence has been shown to predict clinical performance in other medical fields and may be a predictor for clinical performance in physical therapy students. Longitudinal assessment of emotional intelligence of Doctor of Physical Therapy students was obtained yearly (three times) beginning in the first year. In addition, the relationship between emotional intelligence and performance on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and clinical performance (using the Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI)) was examined. Participants. Graduate physical therapy students (n = 260; 218 women and 42 men) between the ages of 20 and 35 from four schools participated. Methods. Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEITTM version 2.0) scores, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, pre-requisite and professional grade point averages (GPAs), NPTE scores, CPI scores (Version 4), and demographic information were collected. Results. Correlation between emotional intelligence and CPI (at either assessment period) was r < 0.37 and emotional intelligence and the NPTE was r = 0.25. Correlation between the various GPA scores and CPI scores was r < 0.13. Likewise, CPI scores or NPTE scores could not be predicted using regression analyses with any combination of emotional intelligence scores, GPA scores, and GRE scores. Higher total emotional intelligence was observed in those who passed the NPTE (103.3) versus those who failed (97.7) the examination (p = 0.05). No differences in total emotional intelligence or any of the subscales were observed over time.Discussion and Conclusion. Emotional intelligence may be a factor in passing the NPTE but had little predictive ability in assessing NPTE or CPI performance. Moreover, GPA and GRE scores also failed to predict CPI or NPTE, indicating a predictive instrument of clinical performance is still needed.

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