Associations between emotional intelligence and doctor burnout, job satisfaction and patient satisfaction

Med Educ. 2011 Aug;45(8):835-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2011.03985.x.


Context: The occupational health literature has long been dominated by stress-related topics. A more contemporary perspective suggests using a positive approach in the form of a health model focused on what is right with people, such as feelings of well-being and satisfaction.

Objectives: Using a positive perspective and multi-source data collection, this study investigated the inter-relationships among emotional intelligence (EI), patient satisfaction, doctor burnout and job satisfaction.

Methods: In this observational study, 110 internists and 2872 out-patients were surveyed in face-to-face interviews.

Results: Higher self-rated EI was significantly associated with less burnout (p<0.001) and higher job satisfaction (p<0.001). Higher patient satisfaction was correlated with less burnout (p<0.01). Less burnout was found to be associated with higher job satisfaction (p<0.001).

Conclusions: This study identified EI as a factor in understanding doctors' work-related issues. Given the multi-dimensional nature of EI, refinement of the definition of EI and the construct validity of EI as rated by others require further examination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Emotional Intelligence*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*