A Cross-Sectional Study of Emotional Intelligence in Military General Surgery Residents

Sarah B. Placek*, Brenton R. Franklin, E. Matthew Ritter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: Higher emotional Intelligence (EI) is linked to improved doctor-patient relationships, empathy, teamwork, communication skills, stress management, and leadership in medicine. This study analyzes the effects of age, postgraduate year (PGY), gender, and prior military experience on EI in military general surgery residents, and compares these to the general population and civilian surgery residents. Design: This is a retrospective, observational study. Results were analyzed using independent sample t test and linear regression to compare general surgery residents with the normative population and civilian general surgery residents. Setting: The general surgery department at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a single-center, academic institution. Participants: All general surgery residents, PGY 1 to 6, were surveyed at the beginning of academic year, in June 2016. Results: There were no statistically discernable differences in global EI between male (n = 27) and female residents (n = 19), PGY, or prior military experience. Female general surgery residents show higher global EI, and both males and females scored higher in the self-control factor than the normative population. Mid-residency, there is a nonstatistically discernible dip in many factors and facets of EI. Conclusions: Gender differences in EI present in the general population were not appreciated in our cohort of surgery residents, which confirms the results of previous studies. This may be due to the fact that general surgery residents are a more uniform group than the population at large. Additionally, our cohort of military surgery residents demonstrated similar global EI to civilian surgery residents. While PGY had no statistically discernable affect on global, facet, or factor EI, more studies are needed to longitudinally follow changes in EI over the course of surgery residency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-673
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Patient Care
  • Professionalism
  • burn-out
  • emotional intelligence
  • general surgery residents


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