Measuring emotional intelligence of medical school applicants

Acad Med. 2000 May;75(5):456-63. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200005000-00016.


Purpose: To discuss the development, pilot testing, and analysis of a 34-item semantic differential instrument for measuring medical school applicants' emotional intelligence (the EI instrument).

Method: The authors analyzed data from the admission interviews of 147 1997 applicants to a six-year BS/MD program that is composed of three consortium universities. They compared the applicants' scores on traditional admission criteria (e.g., GPA and traditional interview assessments) with their scores on the EI instrument (which comprised five dimensions of emotional intelligence), breaking the data out by consortium university (each of which has its own educational ethos) and gender. They assessed the EI instrument's reliability and validity for assessing noncognitive personal and interpersonal qualities of medical school applicants.

Results: The five dimensions of emotional intelligence (maturity, compassion, morality, sociability, and calm disposition) indicated fair to excellent internal consistency: reliability coefficients were .66 to .95. Emotional intelligence as measured by the instrument was related to both being female and matriculating at the consortium university that has an educational ethos that values the social sciences and humanities.

Conclusion: Based on this pilot study, the 34-item EI instrument demonstrates the ability to measure attributes that indicate desirable personal and interpersonal skills in medical school applicants.

MeSH terms

  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests*
  • Intelligence*
  • Male
  • School Admission Criteria*
  • United States