*Corresponding author:Catarina Isabel Figueiredo da Cruz, Nurse in pulmonology service of Hospital and University Center of Coimbra, Portugal
How to cite this article:Cruz C, Parreira P, Mónico L. The Impact of Emotional Intelligence as Buffer Effect of Stress in the Working with External
Clients, The Specificity of the Health Professionals. J Complement Med Alt Healthcare. 2019; 10(2): 555783. DOI:10.19080/JCMAH.2019.10.555783
Aim: Skills based on EI (Emotional Intelligence) lead to challenges both in the area of personal excellence and professional success, so with this research we intend to explore the relationship between EI and PS (perceived stress) in workers with external clients, particularly health professionals.
Materials and Methods: empirical, cross-sectional and non-experimental study, with a non-probabilistic sample by networks of 874 workers from different professional activities (154 healthcare area). The applied questionnaire includes four scales, however in this study we used the EI and PS scales.
Results: The scales used with good indexes of adjustment: EI [ /df= 3,965; NFI= .923; RMSEA= .055; α= .84; M= 5.11 (SD= .63)]; PS [ /df= 4.045; NFI = .953; RMSEA = .059; α = .82; M = 1.79 (SD = .51)]. The results support empirically a negative relationship between emotional intelligence and perceived stress in workers, this relationship can be enhanced with the relationship with other people, such as external clients.
Conclusion: We conclude that people who contact the general public develop EI more, in turn EI relates has a negative and statistically significant relationship with PS.
Keywords: Emotional intelligence, perceived stress, people management such as external clients
The growing interest in investigating and debating the concept of EI has resulted in a better understanding of the role of emotions in human life, as well as the impossibility of separating emotions from rationality, as this new intelligence construct encompasses several dimensions of knowledge: self-regulation, adaptive impulse control, self-efficacy and social intelligence [1,2]. Studies show that higher emotional intelligence scores lead to reduced burnout and better performance, better communicative ability, more safety and more satisfaction . Therefore, EI is identified as the cornerstone in reducing negative work outcomes and improving employee well-being .
This is an Empirical, cross-sectional and non-experimental study, with a non-probabilistic sample by networks of 874
workers from different professional activities in Portugal (154 healthcare area) and 65% of these workers work with external clients. The applied questionnaire includes four scales, however in this study we used the EI and PS scales.
According to the adjustment indices of the confirmatory factor analysis of this instrument that can be observed in the Table 1, we can see that the models proposed by the authors , overall presents good adjustment indices: EI [x2 /df= 3,965; NFI=.923; RMSEA= .055;]; PS [ x2/df= 4.045; NFI = .953; RMSEA = .059].
By analyzing the Table 2 all dimensions of the EI positively correlate with the variable Work with external clients, which leads us to deduce that EI is enhanced with relationships with other people, such as external customers. Due to the specific
characteristics of the health area, health professionals present
a significant correlation (r= .17 with p < .05) with Empathy
and social contagion, meaning that health professionals are the
most creative, the most effective at resolving problems, and the
best team workers. On the other hand, in the other professional
categories, when analyzing Table 2, we find that there is a very
strong correlation (p < .01) between the dimension of Self-
Encouragement and working with external clients (r= .10).
It seems that participants feel that the priority is to belong to
enthusiastic teams in order to overcome the obstacles and
* p < .05 ** p < .01
The PS correlates negatively with the variables it works with
external clients both at the global scale level and in the analyzed
professional categories. Given the results we decided to test the
difference in magnitude of the correlation coefficients between
the EI (and constituent factors) and the PS previously obtained
in health professionals and other professional categories, the
complementary SPSS routine was performed. (Syntax Files),
elaborated by Alferes , to test the difference between two
correlation coefficients of two independent groups (SP, obtained
in health professionals and other professional categories).
With the observation the Table 3 we can see that there are
significantly higher negative correlations in health professionals
compared to other professionals, between the SP and the global
EI scale, thus, we can conclude that, in general, EI acts as a buffer
effect in PS more effectively in health professionals (24%), while
only 16% in other professionals. This effect assumes greater
expression in the Self-Encouragement dimension (z = 3.67),
since the proportion and variance shared with the SP in health
professionals is 13%, while in other professionals it is only 4.8%.
The performance of the psychometric studies of the
measuring instruments allowed us to demonstrate that the
models proposed by the authors, in our sample, have good
overall adjustment indices. As for internal consistency, we
obtained values considered good. The global scale of EI
showed an internal consistency of .84 and the PS scale showed
an internal consistency of .82, which are considered good
values as described in the literature . To better understand
this phenomenon (emotional intelligence as a buffer effect
on perceived stress) we added sociodemographic variables
(Working with external clients) to our study and studied its effect
on emotional intelligence and perceived stress. Controlling the
variable Work with external clients, we found that it correlates
positively with EI, with more significant relationships in the Self-
Encouragement dimension, in the specificity of the professional
category, we found that EI in all its constituent factors correlates
positively with the Professionals variable. being the most
significant relationship with Empathy and emotional contagion.
It seems that people in contact with the general public develop EI
more, probably because they are more often involved in conflicts,
which they have to solve creatively, developing constructive
ways to manage anger and maintain difficult conversations ,
in the case of health professionals in which their context is in
the high emotional work plan because it involves the perceived
and expressed feelings . In this line of thinking, our results
were astonishing as healthcare professionals as they work with
various types of clients feel the need to train themselves to better
serve their clients. However, in our research we found no studies
on the influence of working with external clients on EI or SP on
health professionals. And indeed, our research is pioneering as
we conclude that EI acts as the most effective stress protection
factor for healthcare professionals, because considering the
overall scale of EI we found a probability of 24% of acting as
a buffer effect in SP in health professionals whereas in other
professional categories it is only 16%.
Effectively it was found that IE has a negative impact on
perceived stress, i.e., the higher the IE score the lower the
SP, this relationship assumes greater magnitude in health
professionals. In our view this was an expected result, because
in the research done all the literature pointed in this direction.
On the one hand, in this relationship, we highlight the dimension
Understanding one’s own emotions and Self-Encouragement in
health professionals and the Self-Encouragement dimension in
other professional categories. On the other hand, the scales used
(EI scale and PS scale) showed a good fit index to the data.