CONTEXT The occupational health literature has long been dominated by stress-related topics. A more contemporary perspective suggests using a positive approach in the form of a health model focused on what is right with people, such as feelings of well-being and satisfaction. OBJECTIVES Using a positive perspective and multi-source data collection, this study investigated the inter-relationships among emotional intelligence (EI), patient satisfaction, doctor burnout and job satisfaction. METHODS In this observational study, 110 internists and 2872 out-patients were surveyed in face-to-face interviews. RESULTS Higher self-rated EI was significantly associated with less burnout (p<0.001) and higher job satisfaction (p<0.001). Higher patient satisfaction was correlated with less burnout (p<0.01). Less burnout was found to be associated with higher job satisfaction (p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS This study identified EI as a factor in understanding doctors' work-related issues. Given the multi-dimensional nature of EI, refinement of the definition of EI and the construct validity of EI as rated by others require further examination.
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