Date of Award

4-13-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Educational Leadership

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Adam Kosnitzky

Second Advisor

Linda M. Finke

Third Advisor

James Hundrieser

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to critically analyze both academic and nonacademic factors that may influence retention of health science students and the potential for future effective admission strategies beyond cognitive admission standards. The health science professions are fortunate to attract intelligent, competitive applicants to the professional programs. However, applicants may not possess the emotional intelligence skills to be interpersonally competent, caring healthcare providers. College institutions have only recently begun acknowledging the value of noncognitive criteria in admissions and student retention of beginning undergraduate students.

The purpose of this correlational and comparative research study was to test a hypothesized model about students' sociodemographic characteristics, emotional intelligence skills, and academic performance. A randomly selected sample of 109 undergraduate health science students in the College of Health and Human Services at Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne (PEW) participated in this study. The online Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) research instrument and a researcher-designed online Student Profile sociodemographic questionnaire were used for this study.

Results of psychometric analyses indicated estimates of reliability and validity related to the EQ-i. Respondents' sociodemographic characteristics: gender, age, student enrollment status, class standing, and organizational and volunteer activity were predictive variables of their emotional intelligence skills. Male students scored higher on most of the emotional intelligence scales. Students' 34 to 45 years of age scored significantly higher in total EQ, stress management, and general mood scales. Students who were enrolled full-time had significantly higher total EQ scores than the students enrolled part-time. The students' emotional intelligence scores were predictive variables with their academic performance (grade point average). Findings indicated students with high GPAs scored significantly higher in the following emotional intelligence scores: interpersonal, stress management, and impulse control skills.

Structural equation modeling in future studies may further explain relationships in hypothesized models involving sociodemographic characteristics, emotional intelligence (noncognitive), and academic performance (cognitive) of undergraduate students. The generalizability and implications of results from studies measuring emotional intelligence of college students needs to be studied further. Additional research in this area is needed to determine whether health professions programs can directly influence future healthcare providers by using nonacademic factors.

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