Emotional Intelligence in Medical Students is Inversely Correlated with USMLE Step 1 Score: Is there a Better Way to Screen Applicants?

AUTHORS

Allison L. Boden 1 , Christopher A. Staley 2 , Adam R. Boissonneault 3 , Thomas L. Bradbury 4 , Scott D. Boden 5 , Mara L. Schenker 4 , *

1 Medical Student, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta,USA

2 Research Intern, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta,USA

3 Resident, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta,USA

4 Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta,USA

5 Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta,USA

How to Cite: Boden A L, Staley C A, Boissonneault A R, Bradbury T L, Boden S D, et al. Emotional Intelligence in Medical Students is Inversely Correlated with USMLE Step 1 Score: Is there a Better Way to Screen Applicants?, J Med Edu. 2017 ; 16(4):e105594. doi: 10.22037/jme.v16i4.19528.

ARTICLE INFORMATION

Journal of Medical Education: 16 (4); e105594
Published Online: March 28, 2018
Article Type: Research Article
Received: December 23, 2017
Accepted: February 21, 2018
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Abstract

Background: The primary aim of this study was to investigate whether USMLE board scores correlate with the emotional intelligence of medical students. We hypothesized that higher Step 1 scores would be associated with lower emotional intelligence.Methods: This prospective study included medical students who self-reported their USMLE Step 1 score and completed a survey designed to measure their emotional intelligence. The survey was composed of a Grit Scale, a Hardiness-Resilience quiz, and the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” quiz. For participants who completed all three instruments, a composite score was equal to the sum of the three scoresThis study was performed at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. Of the 85 medical students who were recruited to participate, 72 completed all aspects of this study (85% completion rate).Results: Pearson correlation analyses showed that grit (r=-0.105, P=0.34), hardiness-resilience (r=-0.230, P=0.04), the eye quiz (r=-0.033, P=0.79), and the composite score (r=-0.187, P=0.12) wereinversely correlated with USMLE scores. Participants who scored higher than the national average had a lower mean hardiness score compared to those who scored lower than the national average (P=0.03). Those who scored at least one standard deviation above the national average had a lowermean hardiness score (P=0.05) and a lower composite score (P=0.04).Conclusion: Higher USMLE Step 1 scores are associated with lower emotional intelligence, namely hardiness, in medical students.

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  • © 2017, Journal of Medical Education. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.
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