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Individuals who use this coping style tend to be less depressed and more satisfied with their lives. (Kulich, et al. 1998)
High El students were able to use their social skills to access their social network in coping with their stress. They were able to use interpersonal skills to address stressful conflicts with colleagues and patients.
Low El students tended to procrastinate and withdraw from their social support network.
Interpersonal skills are recommended as ideal skills in a good dentist and discussing problems with other per-sons involved has been cited as a coping strategy for stress in practising dentist. (Lundh, et al. 2001)
High El students were able to judge that such behaviours were not helpful. Health-damaging behaviours such as tobacco and alcohol consumption
Adopting health-damaging lifestyles or behaviours was reported by low El students in response to their experiences of stress.
The use of drugs and medication are commonly reported in the literature as responses to stress in dental students (Underwood & Fox 2000) and practising dentists.(Forest 1978)
The authors state that this study is the first to link El and health-damaging lifestyles or behaviours in dental undergraduates.
Apart from causing harm to themselves, such habits may have implications on the students' perception of their role in health education on tobacco and alcohol consumption.
Most of the interviewees recognised that organisation and time-management were important in coping with stress.
High El students in the present study reported how they organised their activities and managed their time with confidence.
Low El students were tentative about how they structured their time.
The results of the present study indicate that reflection and appraisal, social and interpersonal, and organisation and time-management skills are associated with high El students, whereas health-damaging behaviours are associated with low El students.
Future research needs to establish whether the enhancement of El in dental students would lead to improved stress-coping and better physical and psychological health.
The study was limited in size and scope, further research is needed to track outcomes of individuals regarding their grades, graduation, and career to ascertain if they are more of less successful depending on their EI rating.
On a final note the authors make mention of the benefit of using small groups to train for and use EI in practice.
The majority of clinical teaching is often conducted in small groups. Whilst the location of the teaching (wards, clinics, clinical skills centres and ambulatory teaching areas) and the authenticity of the patient (real patient, simulated patient or model) may vary, the principles of the small group work are the same. The small group instructional skills of clinical teachers are considered one of the most important determinants of effective clinical teaching
This is especially true of dental students during their undergraduate training. They often come into contact with their fellow students, tutors and patients in the context of a small-group, usually an intimate chair-side learning environment. In this environment El is an important resource that enables students to manage stressful emotions in themselves and in those they work closely with.
The Chart here shows the relevant factors in small group sessions and is perhaps where the fundamental practice of better EI coping strategies should begin.
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