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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health






Background: Veterinary students are faced with immense pressures and rigors during school. These pressures have contributed to elevated levels of stress, anxiety, and depression (SAD) among veterinary students relative to the general population. One proposed concept to help students combat SAD is that of emotional intelligence (EI). We explored the relationship between EI and SAD among veterinary students at a college in the Southeast United States. Methods: A crosssectional study design was implemented among a convenience sample of 182 veterinary medical students. The survey instrument contained 56 items that elicited information about students’ demographics, perceived stress, anxiety, and depression, and emotional intelligence levels. Data analysis included univariate statistics, Pearson’s correlations, and multiple regression and independent samples t‐tests. Results: The study revealed a statistically significant, negative correlation between EI levels and stress, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, a statistically significant, positive correlation was found between stress and anxiety as well as both stress and anxiety and depression. Multiple linear regression showed that EI was a statistically significant predictor of stress (b = −0.239, p < 0.001), anxiety (b = −0.044, p < 0.001), and depression (b = −0.063, p < 0.001), after controlling for sociodemographic variables. Students’ t‐test results revealed a statistically significant mean difference in EI scores among students screening positive versus negative for depression, with students screening negative having a mean EI score of 10.81 points higher than students who screened positive for depression. Conclusion: There is a scientifically supported need for interventions in veterinary school to integrate EI into the veterinary medical curriculum and consider the EI levels of veterinary student candidates.


Anxiety; Depression; Emotional intelligence; Mental health; Stress; Veterinary students


Medical Education | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Veterinary Medicine

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306 KB



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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