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Korean J Med Educ. 2011 Sep;23(3):159-65. doi: 10.3946/kjme.2011.23.3.159. Epub 2011 Sep 30.

Effect of emotional intelligence on patient-physician interaction scores of clinical performance examination.

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Department of Medical Education, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



The patient-physician interaction (PPI) is a critical part of the clinical encounter. Recent studies have emphasized the importance of the emotional intelligence (EI) of physician in the PPI. Despite emphasizing the EI, previous studies offer limited evidence regarding the effect of a student's EI on the PPI. The purpose of this study is to explore the differences in EI depending on the demographics of medical students and the correlation between EI and PPI scores.


The sample was 85 fourth-grade medical students. Prior to taking a 12-station clinical performance examination, the students completed questionnaires on their own perception of the EI, which included 5 domains and 50 items. The tool that was used to assess the level of EI was Moon's modified version of the EI test for adults. We investigated differences in EI depending on the demographics of medical students by ANOVA and noted a correlation between EI and PPI scores by stepwise multiple regression analysis.


This study found that females or graduate entry students have higher EI scores and that 25 to 30-year-old students have higher EI scores than aged under 25 years. The PPI scores correlated positively with total EI scores (r=0.32) and 2 subdomains (perception and expression of emotion, r=0.26; empathy, r=0.33). Two subdomains were the best predictors of PPI score (R2=0.171).


EI correlates significantly with PPI score and affects it. We conclude that EI is a key influence of the PPI. Further research is required to explore whether this is a consistent effect.


Clinical performance examination; Emotional intelligence; Patient-physician interaction

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