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ORIGINAL RESEARCH PAPER
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 39-47

A longitudinal study of relationships between previous academic achievement, emotional intelligence and personality traits with psychological health of medical students during stressful periods


1 Department of Medical Education, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
2 Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Malaysia
3 School of Educational Study, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
Muhamad Saiful Bahri Yusoff
Department of Medical Education, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Malaysia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.112800

Context: There is considerable evidence that emotional intelligence, previous academic achievement (i.e. cumulative grade point average (GPA)) and personality are associated with success in various occupational settings. This study evaluated the relationships of these variables with psychological health of first year medical students during stressful periods. Methods: A 1-year prospective study was done with students accepted into the School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia. Information on emotional intelligence, GPA and personality traits were obtained prior to admission. The validated Universiti Sains Malaysia Emotional Quotient Inventory and Universiti Sains Malaysia Personality Inventory were used to measure emotional intelligence and personality traits, respectively. Stress, anxiety and depression were measured by the 21-item Depression Anxiety Stress Scale during the end-of-course (time 1) and final (time 2) examinations. Results: At the less stressful period (time 1), stress level was associated with agreeableness and the final GPA, anxiety level was associated with emotional control and emotional conscientiousness and depression level was associated with the final GPA and extraversion. At the more stressful period (time 2), neuroticism associated with stress level, anxiety level was associated with neuroticism and emotional expression, and depression level was associated with neuroticism. Conclusions: This study found that neuroticism was the strongest associated factor of psychological health of medical students during their most stressful testing period. Various personality traits, emotional intelligence and previous academic performance were associated factors of psychological health during a less stressful period. These data suggest that early identification of medical students who are vulnerable to the stressful environment of medical schools might help them maintain psychological well-being during medical training.


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