Purpose: While occupational stress may negatively affect physiotherapists’ work attitudes and behaviour, emotional intelligence has been suggested as a factor that leads to successful performance and provision of quality service in the healthcare profession. This study was designed to investigate the association of occupational stress and emotional intelligence among physiotherapists in Malaysia.
Method: The study employed a cross‐sectional self‐report design. Convenience sampling method was used to recruit 171 participants. The sample comprised physiotherapists who work in government and private settings in Malaysia. Questionnaires consisting of socio-demographic data, Genos Emotional Intelligence Inventory and Occupational Stress Index were distributed to the participants. The data was analysed using Pearson Correlation, Independent samples t-test and One-way ANOVA.
Results: It was found that 130 physiotherapists (76%) suffered from moderate stress, 21.1% experienced low stress and 2.9% reported high stress. Overall, moderate emotional intelligence level was reported by the participants with mean of 129.36±18.314. A negative correlation was found between occupational stress and emotional intelligence. Males exhibited higher level of occupational stress than female physiotherapists. Demographic variables such as years of clinical experience and monthly salary were statistically significant with emotional intelligence.
Conclusion: Emotional self-management and understanding others' emotions appear to play an important role in managing occupational stress.