Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


This mixed methods study explored the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and overall student performance during occupational therapy (OT) fieldwork. The purpose of this study was to determine whether EI was predictive of student performance during the clinical portion of the academic program. In the first phase of this two-part study, 42 students enrolled in either a Master of Occupational Therapy program or an Occupational Therapy Assistant Program completed the Genos Emotional Intelligence Inventory (short form). Student scores on this brief measure of EI were correlated with scoring on the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Level II Fieldwork Performance Evaluation (FWPE) form. In the second phase of the study, 20 Clinical Fieldwork Educators (CFEs) were interviewed to determine their perception of the importance of EI in regard to fieldwork performance. An analysis of the quantitative data was conducted using hierarchical linear regression, and a positive significant relationship was found between EI and fieldwork performance. An analysis of the qualitative data obtained from interviews with CFEs found multiple themes highlighting their perception of the importance of EI when communicating and collaborating with patients and their families, working as part of a team, and demonstrating empathy and compassion for others. This study adds additional information to the limited evidence on the key factors to fieldwork success in an OT program. The evidence presented here has practical and theoretical implications for OT admissions committees to consider when selecting candidates who will not only be successful academically, but clinically as well.


Kim Dudzinski, EdD, OTR/L is currently an Assistant Professor for the Master of Occupational Therapy Program at AdventHealth University. She has been serving as the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for the program since 2013. Kim recently graduated from the University of Central Florida with a doctorate degree in Education.

Michele Gregoire Gill, PhD is a professor of educational psychology and program coordinator for the EdD in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Central Florida. She received her masters' and doctoral degrees in educational psychology from the University of Florida in 2002. Dr. Gill is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and is actively involved in Division 15 (educational psychology). She founded the award-winning charter school, Galileo School for Gifted Learning, and has published numerous books and research articles.

Declaration of Interest

The author reports no declarations of interest.

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.