Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


Many current students studying in health care professions lack skills in communication, socialization, and decision-making that can lead to an inability to recognize and manage emotions, indicating a need for emotional intelligence training in university health field curricula. This article presents an evidence-based study that used a new approach to education using online emotional intelligence modules within a graduate occupational therapy program to supplement the program’s curriculum. The study was completed over six and one-half weeks and included 28 second-year graduate occupational therapy students. A pre/post-survey design was used to determine participants’ knowledge and their perceptions of their own emotional intelligence skills before and after the completion of six online educational modules and five reflective online activities. Students reported improved perceptions of their own emotional intelligence skills as well as increased knowledge of the key components of emotional intelligence after participation in the online education. The greatest perceived changes were reported in self-awareness (+14.1%) and social awareness (+12.2%), followed by relationship management (+10.0%) and self-management (+8.3%). Additionally, in response to open-ended questions, students identified the perceived benefits of improved emotional intelligence as leading to future success in the classroom and clinical fieldwork affiliations. The emotional intelligence modules and reflective online activities may provide a new approach to the delivery of emotional intelligence education, appealing to today’s students.


Jennifer Calabrese, OTD, MOT, OTR is an Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at Stockton University in Galloway, New Jersey. She is a licensed occupational therapist in New Jersey and has expertise in homecare, dementia, and caregiver training.

Jennifer E. Lape, OTD, MOT, OTR/L is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a licensed occupational therapist in Pennsylvania and practices clinically in skilled nursing facilities.

Theresa Delbert, MS, OTR/L is an Assistant Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for the MOT Program at Chatham University. Her clinical experience spans the health care continuum with adults and children, including environments of rehabilitation, long-term care, early intervention, and pediatric outpatient and school based.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.