Emotional Intelligence Levels in Professional Athletic Training Students



Background: Recent evidence suggests that a major factor in patient satisfaction and practitioner happiness in health care may be the emotional intelligence (EI), or the ability to recognize and modulate the emotions of one’s self and others. Literature has demonstrated that EI has decreased in health care providers.

Objective: This study sought to find differences in EI levels of bachelors and masters level AT students.

Design: Quantitative online survey instrument.

Setting: Bachelors and master’s level professional programs.

Patients or Other Participants: Snowball sampling through program directors yielded 44 bachelor’s and 35 master’s students.

Method(s): Self-reported opinions of EI were collected via the Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale (EIS)score.  Demographics of the group and a Likert-like scale (1-5) responses to 33 statements were captured.  Analyses of variance were conducted to determine differences by degree level and by gender and Pearson correlations were conducted to determine relationships between additional demographics and EI.

Results: There were no significant differences in bachelor’s and master’s student’s EIS scores, however a gender difference was noted, with males scoring higher. There was a significant correlation between age and EIS score.

Conclusions: An AT’s ability to respond and manage their emotions and the emotions of their patients is vital to providing care.  This study did not find a difference in EI levels in bachelor’s and master’s level students. However, this project did demonstrate EI differences in men and women that are not supported by past research and should be further explored. EI education should be included in AT curricula to slow the downward trend in EI and improve the health care experience for practitioners and patients.

Key Words:  Patient-based care, professional preparation, patient interactions






Athletic Training