Context: Current studies have found limited evidence for an association between doctor emotional intelligence (EI) and the patient-doctor relationship (PDR). This study explored the associations among doctor EI, patient trust and the PDR using multi-source and multi-level approaches. Methods: A total of 994 outpatients and 39 doctors representing 11 specialties were surveyed. Results: Doctors' self-rated EI was not significantly correlated with any variables rated by the patients. The nurse-rated PDR and the EI score for the doctor were positively associated with patient trust at a significant level. Conclusions: Multi-sources for assessment of doctor EI may be more objective and predictive than doctor self-ratings in ascertaining the associations among patient trust, the PDR, and patient satisfaction. Emotional intelligence coaching for doctors and interdisciplinary collaboration among clinicians are needed to optimise the efficient and therapeutic function of the PDR for patients.
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