free journal emotional intelligence and perceved stress

Emotional intelligence and perceived stress in healthcare students: a multi-institutional, multi-professional survey.(Research article)(Report).

BMC Medical Education 9.(Sept 17, 2009): p.61. (4375 words)

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Author(s): Yvonne Birks, Jean McKendree and Ian Watt.
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Background Emotional intelligence (EI) is increasingly discussed as having a potential role in medicine, nursing, and other healthcare disciplines, both for personal mental health and professional practice. Stress has been identified as being high for students in healthcare courses. This study investigated whether EI and stress differed among students in four health professions (dental, nursing, graduate mental health workers, medical) and whether there was evidence that EI might serve as a buffer for stress. Method The Schutte Emotional Intelligence and the Perceived Stress scale instruments were administered to four groups of healthcare students in their first year of study in both the autumn and summer terms of the 2005-6 academic year. The groups were undergraduate dental, nursing and medical students, and postgraduate mental health workers. Results No significant differences were found between males and females nor among professional groups for the EI measure. Dental students reported significantly higher stress than medical students. EI was found to be only moderately stable in test-retest scores. Some evidence was found for EI as a possible factor in mediating stress. Students in different health profession courses did not show significant differences in Emotional Intelligence. Conclusion While stress and EI showed a moderate relationship, results of this study do not allow the direction of relationship to be determined. The limitations and further research questions raised in this study are discussed along with the need for refinement of the EI construct and measures, particularly if Emotional Intelligence were to be considered as a possible selection criterion, as has been suggested by some authors.


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COPYRIGHT 2009 BioMed Central Ltd.

Authors: Yvonne Birks [1]; Jean McKendree (corresponding author) [2]; Ian Watt [1,2]


Emotional intelligence (EI) is increasingly discussed as having a potential role in medicine, nursing, and other healthcare disciplines, both for personal mental health and professional practice. Stress has been identified as being high for students in healthcare courses. This study investigated whether measures of EI and stress differed among students in four health professions (dental, nursing, graduate mental health workers, medical) and whether there was evidence that EI might serve as a buffer for stress.

The concept of stress has been widely discussed in relation to healthcare students and reports of high levels of perceived stress amongst these groups are common [1, 2, 3]. All students experience the demands of course work, a new environment and new people, and for those living away from home for the first time learning to manage financially, emotionally and socially by themselves. In addition, healthcare students, encounter other potential sources of stress such as the emotions involved in dealing with patients and the learning of applied clinical skills [1, 4]. Stress in healthcare students has been associated with increased levels of depression [5, 6] use of drugs and alcohol and increased anxiety [3] and attrition [7, 8].

The expense involved in training healthcare professionals represents a considerable investment and attrition has a significant financial impact as well as being unfortunate for the student involved. It would therefore seem important to identify those students who may experience their course as more stressful than their peers in order to target them early for help and support.

Several predictors of stress in healthcare students have been identified in previous literature. While some are concrete problems such as childcare arrangements [9], financial security [10] and volume of work [11], there is a body of literature which points to a range of individual psychological characteristics as predictive of stress in students regardless of other mitigating circumstances [9, 12, 13].

One such factor, emotional intelligence (EI), is increasingly made reference to in medicine, nursing and other healthcare disciplines where it is suggested it is important for professional mental health as well as effective practice [2, 14, 15, 16]. The concept of EI was introduced over a decade ago by Salovey and Mayer [17] and is described as ‘a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and other’s emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions’. It emerged from an array of research looking at how people perceive, communicate, and use emotions.

Popular or public interest in EI arose from a book by Goleman [18] which suggested that life success depended more on emotional intelligence than cognitive intelligence. As is often the case in an emerging area, the use of a variety of terms makes it difficult to agree on an over-arching definition of EI and it has been referred to as emotional literacy, the emotional quotient, personal intelligence, social intelligence, and interpersonal intelligence [19]. One of the most rigorous examinations of EI to date (a meta-analysis of the relationship between EI and performance outcomes) suggests that EI is “the set of abilities (verbal and nonverbal) that enable a person to generate, recognize, express, understand, and evaluate their own, and others, emotions in order to guide thinking and action that successfully cope with environmental demands and pressures” [20].

Recent calls have been made to include training in emotional intelligence in healthcare workers as a means of improving leadership qualities, preventing burnout and stress, and improving curricula and communication skills. It is cited in various literature as ‘ essential’ for nurse managers’ [21], nursing and medical recruitment [22, 15] and curricula [23] however, little empirical work has examined EI in health professionals or its impact on professional and academic outcomes. The few studies examining this so far have demonstrated that EI was positively associated with lower perceived stress in dental undergraduates [2] and a short intervention to raise awareness of emotional intelligence has been reported but not evaluated prospectively [16]. Current evidence for variation in professionals and ways in which it might be effectively included in curricula or continuing professional development is lacking [24].

This paper reports a study looking at emotional intelligence across four healthcare student groups in their first year of study and examines the relationship with perceived stress. While it is important to understand stress and coping mechanisms across the curriculum for this study first year students were chosen because, if the results warrant, the students can be followed through the curriculum for a longitudinal study and if the results are promising, these measures could be used in the future to identify students early in the course who may be particularly highly stressed or low in EI and might benefit from additional support.


The study was conducted with four groups of healthcare students in their first year of study in both the autumn and summer terms of the 2005-6 academic year. Ethical approval was granted by the Department of Health Sciences Ethics Committee at the University of York and by the Medical Education Ethics Committee at Hull York Medical School. Students who commenced the first year of their programme in the academic year 2005-6 were approached in the Autumn term of 2005 to take part in the study. Dental students were attending Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary’s College, University of London. Medical students were from the Hull York Medical School. Diploma nursing students were attending the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York as were the postgraduate students who were studying the area of mental health with a view to becoming post-graduate mental health workers in primary care. Repeat questionnaires were given again toward the end of the Summer term in 2006. No exclusion criteria were applied but students were self-selecting as participation was entirely voluntary.

All students received an information sheet explaining the study and three questionnaires for completion. One questionnaire collected demographic information, one measure of Emotional Intelligence and one measure of Perceived Stress. Students either completed the questionnaire immediately after the lecture or returned the questionnaires in pre-paid postal envelopes.

Emotional intelligence was measured using a scale developed by Schutte et al. [25]. The scale comprises 33 items, three of which are reversed scored. Participants are required to rate the extent they agree or disagree with each statement on a five-point scale (1 = strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree). Recent factor analytic studies by the scale authors have established that all the items load significantly on a single factor. The score is calculated by summing the item responses.

Stress was measured using the Perceived Stress Scale [26]. This 10 item scale was developed to measure the degree to which individuals appraise their life as stressful and has been widely used in health studies. Four of the items are reversed score and the scale has a 5-point Likert response format. The total score is calculated by summing responses. The PSS was designed for use with community samples with at least a junior high school education. The questions are general in nature and relatively free of content specific to any sub population group.

Demographic information was also collected using a questionnaire developed by the authors for this purpose. Analysis was performed using SPSS version 16.

Results and discussion

Baseline data collection provided data from 68 of 109 (62%) dental students, 100 of 134 (75%) medical students, 104 of 114 (91%) nursing students, and 17 of 21 (81%) graduate mental health students. Numbers at follow up for those who completed all the questionnaires at both times were substantially reduced with only 25 dental students, 43 medical students, 64 nursing students and 15 graduate mental health students completing both the first and the second set of questionnaires. Any missing items not completed by the participants were replaced by the median for that item. There were no missing items for the PS scales and a total of 0.35% of items overall on the EI scales. No participant in the group completing all questionnaires had more than 1 missing item at Time 1 or Time 2. The demographic characteristics of the groups at baseline are summarised in Table 1.

Table 1 caption: Demographic Characteristics of Student Groups at Time 1 [see PDF for image]

The mean scores and 95% confidence intervals for the Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale (EI) and Perceived Stress Scale (PS) for students completing any of the instruments at each individual time period (called “full sample” in the table) and the subset of 147 students that filled in all measures at both times (“subset” in the table) are presented in Table 2.

Table 2 caption: Mean Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Perceived Stress (PS) scores at Time 1 and Time 2 [see PDF for image]

Scores for total EI can range from 33 to 165 and for PS between 0 and 40. Reliability analyses were conducted by calculating Cronbach’s alpha for the 33-item Schutte emotional intelligence scale (N = 289; alpha = 0.87) and 10-item Perceived Stress Scale (N = 289; alpha = 0.85) using the data from all participants who completed each scale at Time 1. This indicated that the internal reliability of each scale was adequate for further analysis.

The scores for only those 147 participants who completed both scales at baseline and follow up provided the complete data on which all subsequent analyses were carried out. Reliabilities for both scales were identical to the full group for this subset who completed all scales.

The correlation for Emotional Intelligence at baseline and follow up was r = .65 which would indicate a relatively stable trait over time, as measured by the Schutte EI scale. A paired t-test for EI at Time 1 and Time 2 indeed showed no significant difference in the EI scores over time, (t = -.08, p = .94). This would support the scale authors’ assertion that it is a stable trait, although the correlation indicates that it may be somewhat variable over time.

The correlation for Perceived Stress from Time 1 to Time 2 was r = .46, and a paired t-test for the group overall did show a significant change in stress over time with the group as a whole showing higher stress at Time 2 (t = -3.97, p < .0001). This second administration of the measures was close to end of year exams which may account for the increase in stress at this date. This choice allowed evaluation of whether there is a mitigating effect of Emotional Intelligence on Perceived Stress at times that are traditionally stressful for students.

Differences between student groups

Analysis of differences by groups using analysis of variance showed no differences among professional categories for Emotional Intelligence (EI Time 1: F = 1.67, p = .179; EI Time 2: F = .24, p = .87). The highest scoring group at Time 1 (medical students) showed a reduction in EI and the lowest scoring group (dental students) an increase. 95% confidence intervals, given in Table 2, suggest that the groups overlap significantly due to high variance which may indicate regression to the mean in terms of changes in scores. This pattern can be seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Emotional Intelligence scores at Time 1 and Time 2 for participants completing all scales . [see PDF for image]

A similar analysis for Perceived Stress showed no difference between groups (F = .70, p = .55) at baseline. However, at Time 2, there was a significant difference between groups (F = 3.41, p = .02). A post hoc comparison using the Scheffe test which adjusts for multiple comparisons indicated that the only statistically significant difference was between the medical students and the dental students at Time 2, as shown in Table 3.

Table 3 caption: Post hoc comparison (Sheffé test) of professional groups on Perceived Stress at Time 2 [see PDF for image]

The paired t-test looking at differences between Time 1 and Time 2 showed a significant increase in stress over time, though a one-way ANOVA did not indicate differences among the professional groups. Figure 2 demonstrates that all groups increased their mean score on PS from baseline to follow-up.

Figure 2: Perceived Stress scores at Time 1 and Time 2 for participants completing all scales . [see PDF for image]

Differences in Age and Gender

A one-way ANOVA indicated a significant difference between the groups for average age (F = 6.47, p < .0001). Comparing the groups using the Scheffe test for post hoc planned comparisons showed that nursing students were marginally older on average than the medical students (mean difference = 3.9 years, p = .06) and significantly older than the dental students (mean difference = 7.0 years, p < .001). However, the correlation between Emotional Intelligence and age for the whole group was non-significant (r = .07) as was the correlation between Perceived Stress and age (r = -.03 at Time 1; r = .07 at Time 2). Therefore, no further analysis was carried out using age as a variable.

The means with the sample split by gender for those who completed all four scales were also examined. Samples size for males in some categories (5 nurses of 64, 3 mental health students of 15) were too small for reliable analyses between student groups. Comparing males and females on EI and on PS at Time 1 and Time 2 demonstrated no difference in scores by gender for either measure.

Given that levels of emotional intelligence did not differ significantly between ages, gender or student group, subsequent analyses were carried out on the group as a whole.

Emotional Intelligence and Stress

The correlation between Mean EI and PS at Time 1 was r = -.27 (p < .001) and at PS Time 2, r = -.22, p = .007. The significant negative correlation indicates that those with higher EI have lower PS at baseline and follow-up. The slightly reduced correlation at Time 2 may indicate that while EI might help moderate stress at lower levels, when there is an acute stressor such as end of year exams, the effect of EI may be lessened.

The mean change in EI and PS over time varied for participants. The average change in EI score (.06 points) was low, considering that the scores can range from 33 to 165, indicating a reasonably stable trait in the group overall. However, looking at the maximum drop in EI (-31 points) and the maximum gain in EI (28 points), it is clear that some individuals showed considerable variation in their scores, up to approximately a 20% change in EI. The changes in PS varied from -22 points to 14 points with a mean change of -2.

The correlation of the change in the measures (EI1-EI2 and PS1-PS2) was r = -.39, p < .0001. Therefore those students whose change in EI increased had a significant decrease in their perceived stress and vice versa. The constraints of correlational tests mean we are unable to specify any causal direction to this relationship.


This study examined the hypothesised link between perceived stress and emotional intelligence in a variety of healthcare students. Previous work had suggested a link between EI and perceived stress in student populations.

Emotional Intelligence in this context appears to be at some level a moderator of stress. However its effect seems to be slightly less pronounced at time two where generally higher levels of stress were reported. The reason for the higher levels of stress was not formally identified but many of the groups had upcoming exams which may have contributed to increased stress. Given that the question of interest was whether high EI may help students cope with stress, the measures at a time of average versus high stress is a useful feature of this dataset. Nevertheless, because of the correlational nature of the study, we cannot conclude the direction of any causal connection. It may be that as people get more stressed, their EI scores decrease, or that as EI scores decrease for whatever reason, stress increases. However, given that EI is more stable than PS, it might make sense to hypothesise that it is EI that is affecting stress rather than the other way around. There may be important individual differences in the behaviour and stability of EI that would certainly warrant further investigation.

Dental students were more stressed toward the end of the first year of study than the medical students. This dental cohort differed in that it had the youngest mean age and was more ethnically diverse than any of the other groups and this may have contributed to higher levels of perceived stress. However, low numbers particularly for dental students in the follow up stage of the research made this impossible to follow up meaningfully in this study.

The study suggests that Emotional Intelligence seems to be a relatively stable construct as measured using the Schutte scale and as claimed by the originators of the scale [25], while perceived stress, rather unsurprisingly, varies significantly at different times. While there is variability in the EI scores, this would be expected even if EI is a relatively stable trait because of error of measurement in the test. Nevertheless, other measures of EI may yield more accurate, stable or informative information and should be compared to the Schutte scale used here.

This study is preliminary and the sample size is small, primarily because of the low return rate at Time 2. Nevertheless, even looking at only those students who completed all scales at both times, some interesting results were found. There is some indication that Emotional Intelligence is relatively stable over time, though it would useful to compare different measures of EI, including both trait and performance measures, to see if this holds true with different conceptualisations and measures of EI.

It is interesting that there were no gender, age or disciplinary group differences in EI scores for this group of health care students as this is not the case for other studies using different populations. Petrides and Furnham [27] demonstrated higher self estimated EI in males than females which in turn correlated with measured scores. Conversely, some studies have found females score higher in EI [28]. A significant developmental increase in social and emotional competencies from early adulthood to middle age has also been suggested by others [29, 30]. Bar-On, R., 2000. Emotional and social intelligence: Insights from the emotional quotient inventory (EQ-i). In: Bar-On, R. and Parker, J.D.A., Editors, 2000. Handbook of emotional intelligence, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, pp. 363-388. However the continued use of different instruments from different theoretical conceptualisations of EI makes such results difficult to compare. It would be useful to repeat this study with larger numbers and a variety of student groups to determine whether professions in healthcare attract students with similar EI scores and how those may or may not differ from other groups. There is little literature with which to reference the student scores found in this study however the scores reported in the original scale validation paper for the EI measure cited mean scores for therapists and prisoners. The students’ scores in this study were higher than those of prisoners and less than those of practicing therapists.

While this study suggests the link between EI and stress may be worth pursuing, much work remains to be done to fully explore the relationships between emotional intelligence and stress in students in various health professions and this study raises some interesting questions for further research.

One limitation of the present study is that it is based on correlational rather than experimental evidence, a limitation inherent in many studies of personal attributes. Further work will be required to determine how EI impacts on stress, and also on adaptation or coping and whether interventions may facilitate development of effective strategies.

Another potential limitation is that the EI variables in this study might significantly overlap with other variables not included in the study, which would suggest that EI may not be a distinctive measure. There is work which suggests EI is distinct from a wide variety of other measures, including the big five personality factors, self-esteem, trait anxiety, verbal and performance intelligence, and other well established measures [31]. However, it may be that other individual differences can account for variance in performance and stress attributed to EI. Since studies often use different conceptualisations of EI it makes definitive conclusions difficult. Other traits, for example, neuroticism or anxiety, may be confounded with reports of perceived stress. Thus, future work should control for other personality traits potentially associated with the Perceived Stress Scale.

EI research is still in its infancy, and further research is needed before we can fully understand the role that EI might play in moderating stress or other outcomes. Future work may develop the suggestion that higher EI may be associated with lower perceived stress by investigating whether teaching EI might increase feelings of control and competence. If EI skills can be developed then this should lead, in turn, to more effective coping, and better psychological adaptation.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

YB initiated the study, wrote the literature review and collected the data for the nursing, mental health and medical students. JM organised the medical student data collection and conducted the statistical analysis. Both contributed to writing the paper. IW supervised the project, commented on drafts and advised on design. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Add a comment Oktober 27, 2009

free journal emotional intelligence

Growing emotional intelligence through community-based arts.(Will Power to Youth program)(Report).

Reclaiming Children and Youth 18.1 (Spring 2009): p.3(5). (2921 words)

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Author(s): Jill Aguilar, Dani Bedau and Chris Anthony.
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COPYRIGHT 2009 Reclaiming Children and Youth

The community-based arts environments is uniquely suited to addressing the needs of young people in the area of growing emotional intelligence. The arts offer specific structures, systems, and dynamics that allow for the emergence of the emotional adolescent self. Leaders in the community-based arts field must consciously position their organizations and programs as primary tools in the work of the reclamation of youth and adolescent emotional life.

Each year the City of San Pilaf sponsors the Summer Arts Project for Youth. The program provides opportunities for local youth, ages 13-17, to participate in the development and performance of an original theatre piece.

Jason and Gilbert are both participants in the program this year. They are from different high schools. They also live in two very different parts of town. During the first two weeks of the program students are randomly assigned to work groups as they learn and develop various parts of the theatre piece. These two have found themselves assigned to the same work group three times in one week.

Jason was encouraged to participate in the program because of his strong verbal skills. He has a natural attraction to any public speaking opportunity. Jason is also great at generating creative ideas and persuading others to support his efforts.

Gilbert’s participation is mandatory, as ordered by his Probation Officer. His art is most often expressed in “tagging,” which led to a misdemeanor conviction and now probation. He was ordered to participate in this program.

On Tuesday, the group is making decisions about the storyline for the play. Jason is very vocal throughout the discussion–he seems to be on a creative roll. Gilbert can be observed as becoming more and more agitated every time Jason opens his mouth, but he remains silent. Ultimately the group agrees to a direction for the storyline that Jason has been selling.

Suddenly, a major confrontation occurs between Jason and Gilbert. Gilbert declares that all this is just a bunch of !@!*! He goes on to say that everyone is allowing themselves to be “played” by Jason, who doesn’t know how to do !@!*! except run his mouth. Jason responds with a long list of negative adjectives to describe Gilbert, which include, criminal, ghetto, no-talent, and dumb. The two are face to face, nose to nose, with everyone looking on. (Burbie, 2005, pp. 1-2)

The above scenario comes from a training program designed to prepare teaching artists to work with youth in the Will Power to Youth (WPY) program. WPY is a youth development initiative that nurtures self-respect, promotes mutual respect, encourages the valuing of differences, increases literacy skills, and fosters an appreciation for the arts among young people. Twenty to thirty young people are employed in each session. The program blends theatre arts, human relations, academic development, and workplace training. During the course of the program, a skilled facilitation team works to create and maintain a safe place for a diverse group of youth and adults to learn together and work toward a common goal, the production of an adaptation of a Shakespeare play. WPY is one of the many successful community-based youth arts programs conceived, designed, and directed by professional theatre artists.

In preparing to collaborate artistically with youth, it is critical for artists to be able to talk confidently about feelings, as well as to consider the various emotional settings that might arise in the context of that collaboration. Further, an adequate understanding of emotional development in youth yields important information that teaching artists may use to better understand how adolescents develop artistically, cognitively, and socially.

The brief overview of recent research offered below describes some of the ways that emotions play a part in various developmental tasks of the adolescent. A deeper understanding of adolescent development enables adult artists to support youth in the reclaiming of their own emotional terrain. Community-based arts settings are a natural environment in which to teach these skills.

Lack of Guidance for Youth

It is near-cliche to observe that adolescents often struggle with emotions. They, like Jason and Gilbert, encounter expansive feelings staked to their loyalties, their passions, and their very identities, perhaps for the first time. And in this sometimes turbulent context, the great tasks of adolescence must be attacked. According to Vygotsky (1987), the task of adolescence is for children to develop the ability to control their own will, to make decisions for themselves, and to carry out the activities necessary to make those choices manifest, in order that they may eventually participate in their lives as full adults. Adolescence is a unique moment in human development. It offers an ideal context for an introduction to emotional competency.

Many adolescents are overwhelmed and under-prepared when faced with discussing and regulating their own emotions and those of others around them. The lack of resources and information related to the successful management of emotions is particularly troubling considering that understanding one’s emotions is central to multiple facets of youth development, such as art-making, intellectual processing, and the development of deep and meaningful interpersonal relationships.

The youth who are the target participants for most community-based programs often have few opportunities to systematically build these skills. They are typically from working-class and poor families who cannot afford to pay for enrichment activities. While it is important not to make assumptions about who those children are and what their individual lives are like, it is equally important to be aware that they may contend with common stressors. For example, they may live in neighborhoods with relatively higher rates of unemployment, underemployment, and crime than the region at large (Brookings Institution, 2006). There may be few community resources to dedicate to health and recreation. Youth may attend schools that are struggling if not failing to provide a useful and meaningful education. They may encounter fewer opportunities to either produce or consume art (Woodworth et al., 2007). With stressors on all members of their communities, youth may not find many adults interested in or able to offer support toward their emotional growth. Given these circumstances, it becomes even more critical to incorporate the teaching of emotional competency into a youth program that targets these populations.

Although there has been some recent interest in the development of emotional intelligence (Salovey & Mayer, 1990; Goleman, 1996), there has yet to emerge any serious movement to incorporate those values and principles into the core curriculum in public schools or in other settings where youth development is a focus (e.g., youth sports, faith communities, or community-based agencies). Youth in all settings are most commonly left to their own devices and personal histories for cues in their emotional development.

In spite of the apparent scarcity of training in emotional intelligence, its importance is rarely disputed. Emotional intelligence is defined by Salovey and Mayer (1990) as “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions” (p. 188). These abilities support key processes in building strong interpersonal relationships (Eisenberg, 2000), of art-making in theatre (Wolf, Edmiston, & Enciso, 1997; Vygotsky, 1971), and in cognitive development (Eisner, 2002; Salovey & Mayer, 1990; Zull, 2002). Given that these and other aspects of youth development are supported by skilled emotional competence, high-quality community-based arts curricula must incorporate this instruction.

Emotions in Productive Activity

While it may seem unusual to some to include the term emotion in discussions of various sorts of intellectual activity, substituting the terms mood or motivation makes the conversations more familiar. Those who study human endeavor of all sorts have long recognized the role that mood and motivation play in the individual’s capacity to marshal his or her personal resources toward attainment of a goal.

Art-Making. Vygotsky (1971), and Wolf and colleagues (1997) have addressed the unique role of emotion in the theatre arts. Wolf et al. examine imagination in dramatic production and note that “rather than separate intellect from affect, drama, like life, weaves the two together” (p. 496). Vygotsky nurtured a lifelong interest in the theatre, specifically in Stanislavski (1936), the father of modern acting technique, and he expended considerable effort toward understanding the relationships between emotion and the theatre arts. In his dissertation, Vygotsky (1971) draws a connection between imagination and emotion in this elementary example:

   If at night we mistake an overcoat hanging in our
   room for a person, our error is obvious, the experience
   is false and devoid of real content. But
   the feeling of fear experienced at the instant the
   coat was sighted is very real indeed. This means
   that ... all our fantastic experiences take place on
   a completely real emotional basis.... Emotion and
   imagination are not two separate processes; on the
   contrary, they are the same process. (p. 203)

In this instance, he appreciates the full complexity of emotions in life and art. Vygotsky further distinguishes emotions, which are always unclear, from sensations, which can be known clearly. The inherent ambiguity of emotions makes them a source of creative potential.

Like Stanislavski, Vygotsky described texts as incomplete and merely suggestive of the thought and emotion that lie beneath (Stanislavski, 1936). Accordingly, Wolf et al. (1997) state that actors “need not only deliver lines on stage, but also create hypothetical affective worlds of their characters off stage by negotiating among actors, for the ‘full person’ has to interact with other characters/players” (p. 496). Because human emotion is the stuff of artistic drama, emotional knowledge and skills relating to the self and to others are vital to the professional development of the actor, the playwright, theatrical designers, and directors. These theatre artists develop a common vocabulary related to key concepts introduced by Stanislavski such as motivation, want, need, goal, objective, conflict, and tactic.

As theatre artists explore these concepts in relationship to the characters in a play, they use a vocabulary of emotion. For example, a director may ask an actor to consider Juliet’s motivation in her monologue that begins “Gallop apace you fiery footed steeds, towards Phoebus’ lodging” in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (Act III, Scene II). What does she want? What is her need? The answers to all these questions involve feeling words. Juliet is motivated to speak because she wants to bring on the night so that Romeo can to come to her. She wants Romeo, love, connection, sexual release, passion, friendship, joy, and bliss. The conflict is that, because their love is forbidden, while it is day she cannot see her love. The conflict causes her to feel tension, desire, anticipation, hope, fear, anger, frustration, and impatience. Juliet uses various tactics as she talks. She commands, pleads, cajoles, seduces, threatens, and rages.

Community-based arts programs that include high-standards of theatre practice introduce this kind of emotional vocabulary with the safe distance of scenes and characters in a play. This vocabulary is then transferable to the more personal dynamics that take place in the process of expressing one’s own emotions and developing deep and meaningful interpersonal relationships.

Cognitive Development. Emotional intelligence has been observed as it interacts with the other intelligences in the development of cognition (Gardner, 1983; Zull, 2002). In examining the role of emotions in intellectual development, Salovey and Mayer (1990) assert that moods and emotions–both “bad” and “good” ones–may 1) increase flexibility in future planning and problem solving, 2) support inventive thinking, 3) direct or re-direct attention, and 4) motivate and sustain persistence at challengin

Add a comment Oktober 27, 2009


Menurut orang awam relaksasi sering kali diartikan dengan rileks, yaitu suatu tindakan yang digunakan untuk melepas ketegangan atau kelelahan. Misalnya olahraga, menonton acara televisi, rekreasi ke tempat-tempat wisata dan menyalurkan hobi yang dimiliki. Sehingga untuk menghindari kerancuan dalam pemahaman arti relaksasi, maka dibawah ini akan membahas teori-teori yang berkaitan dengan rileksasi, meliputi pengertian, metode dasar, manfaat, jenis-jenis, dan prosedur umum pelaksanaan relaksasi

1. Pengertian Relaksasi

Relaksasi adalah teknik yang dapat digunakan semua orang untuk menciptakan mekanisme batin dalam diri seseorang dengan membentuk pribadi yang baik, menghilangkan berbagai bentuk pikiran yang kacau akibat ketidak berdayaan seseorang dalam mengendalikan ego yang dimilikinya, mempermudah seseorang mengontrol diri, menyelamatkan jiwa dan memberikan kesehatan bagi tubuh

2. Metode dasar relaksasi

metode dasar relaksasi adalah suatu proses melawan efek otonomis yang menyertai rileksasi dengan kecemasan dan ketegangan sehingga akan menimbulkan counter conditioning atau penghilangan.

3. Manfaat relaksasi

  • Mampu meningkatkan kesehatan secara umum dengan mempelancar proses metabolisme tubuh, laju denyut jantung, peredaran darah, dan mengatasi berbagai macam problem penyakit
  • Mendorong racun dan kotoran dalam darah keluar dari tubuh
  • Menurunkan tingkat agretifitas dan perilaku-perilaku buruk dari dampak stres seperti mengkonsumsi alkohol serta obat-obat terlarang
  • Menurunkan tingkat egosentris ehingga hubungan intra personal ataupun interpersonal menjadi lancar
  • Mengurangi kecemasan
  • Pada anak-anak dapat meningkatkan intelegency meliputi karakter kognitif, matematis, logis, serta karakter afektif, relational, kreatif dan emosional
  • Meningkatkan rasa harga diri dan keyakinan diri
  • Pola pikir akan menjadi lebih matang
  • Mampu mempermudah dalam mengendalikan diri
  • Mengurangi stres secara keseluruhan, meraih kedamaian dan keseimbangan emosional yang tinggi
  • Meningkatkan kesejahteraan

4. Jenis-jenis Relaksasi

Ada bermacam-macam jenis relaksasi antara lain relaksasi otot, relaksasi kesadaran indera, dan relaksasi melalui hipnosa, yoga, dan meditasi. Berikut ini akan di uraikan satu-persatu mengenai relaksasi diatas

a. Relaksasi Otot

Relaksasi otot bertujuan untuk mengurangi ketegangan dengan cara melemaskan badan. dalam latihan relaksasi otot individu diminta menegangkan otot dengan ketegangan tertentu dan kemudian diminta untuk mengendurkannya. Sebelum dikendorkan penting dirasakan ketegangan tersebut sehingga individu dapat membedakan antara otot tegang dengan otot yang lemas. Relaksasi otot dibagi menjadi tiga antara lain :

1). Relaksasi via Tension-relaxation

Dalam metode ini individu diminta untuk menegangkan dan melemaskan masing-masing otot, kemudian diminta merasakan dan menikmati perbedaan antara otot tegang dengan otot lemas. Disini individu diberitahu bahwa fase menegangkan akan membantu dia lebih menyadari sensasi yang berhubungan dengan kecemasan dan sensasi-sensasi tersebut bertindak sebagai isyarat atau tanda untuk melemaskan ketegangan. Individu dilatih untuk melemaskan otot-otot yang tegang dengan cepat seolah-olah mengeluarkan ketegangan dari badan, sehingga individu akan merasa rileks

2). Relaxation-Via Letting Go

Metode ini bertujuan untuk memperdalam relaksasi. Setelah individu berlatih relaksasi pada semua kelompok otot tubuhnya, maka langkah selanjutnya adalah latihan relaksasi via letting go. Pada face ini individu dilatih untuk lebih menyadari dan merasakan rileksasi. Individu dilatih untuk menyadari ketegangannya dan berusaha sedapat mungkin untuk mengurangi serta menghilangkan ketegangan tersebut. Dengan demikian individu akan lebih peka terhadap ketegangan dan lebih ahli dalam mengurangi ketegangan.

3). Deffrential Relaxation

Deffrential relaxation merupakan salah satu penerapan ketrampilan progresif. Pada waktu individu melakukan sesuatu bermacam-macam kelompok otot menjadi tegang. otot yang diperlukan untuk melakukan aktifitas tertentu sering lebih tegang daripada yang seharusnya (ketegangan yang berlebih) dan otot lain yang tidak diperlukan untuk melakukan aktifitas juga menjadi tegang selama aktifitas berlangsung. oleh karena itu untuk merilekskan otot yang tegangannya berlebihan dan otot yang tidak perlu tegang, pada waktu individu melakukan aktifitas tersebut dapat digunakan relaksasi defferential

b. Relaksasi Kesadaran Indera

Dalam teknik ini individu dapat diberi satu-persatu seri pertanyaan yang tidak dijawab secara lisan tetapi untuk dirasakan sesuai dengan apa yang dapat atau tidak dapat dialami individu pada waktu intruksi diberikan. Pengembangan teknik dapat mengacu pada teori Golfried

c. Relaksasi melalui Hipnosa, Yoga, dan Meditasi

Metode ini merupakan suatu tehnik latihan yang digunakan untuk meningkatkan kesadaran yang selanjutnya membawa proses mental lebih terkontrol secara dasar. Selanjutnya tujuan dari latihan ini ada dua yaitu pertama agar seseorang dapat memiliki insight yang paling dalam tentang proses mental didalamnya, insight tentang kesadaran identitas dan realitas; kedua seseorang memperoleh perkembangan kesejahteraan psikologis dan kesadaran yang optimal. Berikut ini akan diperinci mengenai penjelasan teori di atas

1). Hipnosa

hipnosa adalah kondisi yang menyerupai tidur lelap tapi lebih aktif, saat seseorang memiliki sedikit keinginan tahu dari dirinya dan bertindak menurut sugesti dari orang yang menyebabkan terjadinya kondisi tersebut. Hipnosa adalah sebuah teknik yang lebih dikenal luas tetapi masih kurang dipahami, hipnosa didefinisikan sebagai suatu kesadaran yang berubah secara semu dimunculkan dan dicerna oleh meningkatnya penerimaan terhadap sugesti

2). Yoga

Pengertian Yoga  sistem filsafat agama hindu yang memerlukan disiplin fisik dan mental intens sebagai cara mencapai kesatuan dengan ruh universal. Yoga adalah sebuah sistematika baru yang mampu menjelaskan manusia secara utuh, bagaimana menjalani hidup secaraberimbang serta bagaimana cara bertahan hidup jika tidak ada keseimbangan.

3). Meditasi

Dewasa ini meditasi banyak digunakan dalam banyak hal. Ada yang melaksanakan meditasi untuk mendapatkan kedamaian dan kekuatan jiwa. ada yang melakukan pengendalian diri, ada yang untuk mendapatkan kekuasaan atas orang lain, bahkan ada hanya untuk mendapatkan ketenangan, atau rileksasi setelah keseharian kerja.

istilah meditasi dikenal luas baik di Indonesia maupun di manca negara, baik orang awam maupun ilmiah. Bahkan praktek meditasi telah banyak menyebar  luas keseluruh lapisan masyarakat, akan tetapi banyak orang yang belum memahami tentang meditasi itu sendiri. Banyak diantara mereka yang mempersepsikan meditasi dengan ritual agama tertentu saja, bahkan ada pula yang mengkaitkan meditasi dengan praktek-pratek perdukunan dan klenik. untuk itulah dalam hal ini akan diperinci mengenai pengertian dan istilah meditasi tanpa dikaitkan dengan masalah keagamaan atau dunia paranormal.

Meditasi adalah suatu teknik latihan dalam meningkatkan kesadaran, dengan membatasi kesadaran pada satu objek stimulasi yang tidak berubah pada waktu tertentu untuk mengembangkan dunia internal atau dunia batin seseorang sehingga menambah kekayaan makna hidup  baginya.

Ada berbagai macam jenis meditasi, dibawah ini akan disajikan beberapa teknik dengan menggunakan objek tertentu, yaitu meditasi dengan menghitung pernafasan, meditasi pernafasan, meditasi suara, meditasi visual, meditasi gelembung pikiran, meditasi dengan mantra.Berikut ini adalah rincian tentang meditasi-meditasi tersebut:

a). Meditasi Menghitung Pernafasan

Disini seseorang bermeditasi dengan menghitung keluar masuknya pernafasan dari hidung. Beberapa ahli mensarankan hitungan yang berbeda. ada yang menghitung dari satu samapai empat saja kemudian di ulang lagi. Ada juga yang mensarankan menghitung sampai sepuluh. Bahkan ada yang menyarankan ketika menarik nafas sekali  dan kemudian mengeluarkan termasuk hitungan kesatu, begitu seterusnya. Pada dasarnya semuanya benar dan yang perlu digaris bawahi adalah tujuan utama meditasi ini adalah memperhatikan hitungan, bukan menghitung itu sendiri

b). Meditasi Pernafasan

Pada meditasi ini, pusat perhatian diarahkan pada kegiatan pernafasan itu sendiri dan bukan pada kegiatan menghitung. Jadi seseorang terus menerus secara sadar memperhatikan keluar masuknya udara lewat hidung.

c). Meditasi Suara

Objek yang dijadikan pusat perhatian dalam meditasi ini adalah suara, baik yang ada dalam diri maupun yang ada disekitar.  Meditasi ini sering juga disebut meditasi penyadapan suara

d). Meditasi Visual (Visual Meditation)

Dalam meditasi visual ini, seorang harus memilih satu objek sebagai stimulus untuk memusatkan perhatian.

e). Meditasi Gelembung Pikiran

Meditasi ini juga disebut sebagai penyadapan pikiran, karena dilaksanakan dengan memperhatikan pikiran-pikiran yang muncul. Pikiran-pikiran itu bisa diibaratkan sebagai gelembung-gelembung yang muncul dari air ketika air diberi sabun. Disini seseorang diminta memperhatikan gelembung-gelembung yang muncul dan naik ke udara kemudian hilang. Kadang kalanya tidak hanya pikiran yang muncul,tetapi juga perasan atau sensasi tubuh.

f). Meditasi dengan Mantra

Ini adalah bentuk meditasi yang banyak dilakukan orang. Mantra disini diartikan sebagai suatu frasa atau kata yang dibaca berulang-ulang (wirid atau dzikir dalam agama Islam). Meditasi ini biasanya memang lebihbaik kalau dilakukan dengan mengikuti satu ajaran agama tertentu. Misalnya orang Islam menggunakan kata ALLAH, orang Hindu menggunakn kata OM, dan sebagainya

5. Prosedur Umum Pelaksanaan Tehnik Relaksasi

Ada beberapa tahap yang harus dipertimbangkan dalam relaksasi

a. Tahap Persiapan

Sebelum memulai relaksasi ada yang perlu diperhatikan antara lain adalah lingkungan fisik (psycal setting) sehingga individu dapat berlatih dengan tenang. Lingkungan fisik tersebut antara lain :

1). Kondisi Ruangan

Kondisi ruangan yang digunakan harus tenang, segar, dan nyaman. Untuk menghindari dan mengurangi cahaya dari luar sebaiknya jendela dan pintu ditutup. Penerangan ruangan sebaiknya remang-remang saja dan dihindari adanya sinar langsung yang mengenai mata individu

2). Kursi

Dalam latihan relaksasi perlu digunakan kursi yang dapat memudahkan individu untuk menggerakan otot dengan kosentrasi penuh. Berdasarkan pengalaman yang ada dengan menggunakan kursi malas, sofa, dan kursi yang ada sandarannya akan mempermudah individu dalam melakukan relaksasi. Latihan rileksasi dapat juga dilakukan dengan berbaring ditempat tidur

3). Pakaian

Pada waktu rileksasi sebaiknya gunakan pakaian yang longgar, dan hal-hal yang menganggu jalannya relaksasi (kacamata, jam tangan, gelang, sepatu dan ikat pinggang) dilepas terlebih dahulu

b. Tahap latihan

Selain lingkungan fisik, juga perlu kiranya dipersiapkan diri individu yang akan dilatih. Berikut ini adalah prosedur yang dapat dilakukan antara lain :

1). Belajar untuk tegang dan rileks

2). selama fase permulaan latihan rileksasi paling sedikit 30 Menit setiap hari dan selama fase tengah atau fase lanjut dapat dilaksanakan selama 15 atau 20 menit. Latihan ini dapat dilakukan dua atau tiga kali setiap minggu. jumlah ini tergantung pada keadaan individu dan strestor yang dialami dalam kehidupannya.

3). Ketika latihan harus di obsearvasi bamhwa bermacam-macam otot secara sistematis tegang dan rileks. Ketegangan harus dikendorkan segera dan tidak boleh pelan-pelan.

4). Dalam proses latihan rileksasi yang penting individu dapat membedakan perasaan tegang dan rileks pada otot-otot yang ditegangkan (merilekskannya) dan selalu memonitoring perasaan-perasaan tersebut.

5). Setelah semua otot rileks penuh, apabila individu mengalami ketidak enakan sebaiknya kelompok otot itu tidak digerakan meskipun individu itu merasa bebas bergerak dalam posisinya

6). Tertidur dalam latihan ini harus dihindari karena tujuan relaksasi adalah untuk rileks sementara tapi masih dalam kondisi sadar (terjaga) kecuali relaksasi untuk mengatasi penyakit imsomnia

7). Perlu diketahui kemampuan rileks dapat bervariasi dari hari ke hari. Mungkin pada suatu saat dapat dicapai relaksasi yang mendalam, akan tetapi pada hari lain tidak. Hal tersebut tergantung pada keadaan fisiologis dan psikologis saat itu

8). Pada waktu belajar relaksasi, mungkin individu akan mengalami perasaan yang tidak umum, misalnya gatal-gatal pada jari, sensasi yang mengambang di udara, perasaan berat pada bagian-bagian tubuh, kontraksi otot yang tiba-tiba dan sebagainya. Apabila sensasi-sensasi tersebut dialami maka tidak perlu takut karena sensasi-sensasi tersebut merupakan petunjuk adanya relaksasi, akan tetapi  jika seandainya perasaan itu dapat diatasi dengan membuka mata, maka berafaslah dengan sedikit lebih dalam serta pelan-pelan dan mengonsentrasikan seluruh badan kemudian latihan relaksasi dapat diulangi

9). Pada waktu relaksasi individu tidak perlu takut kehilangan kontrol karena ia tetap dalam kontrol dasar. Untuk memperoleh kontrol diri sendiri dapat dilakukan dengan cara membiarkan segala sesuatu terjadi sebagaimana orang mengambang di atas air, supaya dapat mengambang di atas air dengan efektif, maka ia harus diam saja dan membiarkan daya hanyut alami tubuhnya berinteraksi dengan daya tarik air

10). Di anjurkan latihan ini dilakukan tidak dalam waktu satu jam sebelum tidur karena dalam latihan relaksasi ada kecenderungan untuk relaksasi akan lebih efektif dilakukan sebagai metode kontrol diri.


1. Benson,  H dan Z. Kliper, M.2000. Respon Relaksasi Tehnik Meditasi Sederhana Untuk Mengatasi Tekanan Hidup. Bandung:Kaifa

2. Benson, H dan Proktor, W.2000. Dasar-dasar Relaksasi. Bandung:Kaifa

3. Chaplin, JP.1999. Kamus Lengkap Psikologi. Jakarta:PT Raja Grafiada Persada

4. Santoso, Am R.2001. Mengembangkan Otak Kanan. Jakarta:PT Pustaka Gramedia

5. Shangkara.Sehat Lewat Kundalini Yoga (Majalah Intisari edisi bulan juli 2001)

6. Subandi, S.2002. Psikoterapi Pendekatan Konvensional dan Kontemporer. Yogyakarta:Pustaka Pelajar Offset

7. Yayasan Spritualis Brahma Kumaris. 1976. Mengenal Diri Melalui Meditasi. Bali:Pusat Studi Spritualis Brahma Kumaris

5 komentar September 16, 2009


Mekanisme pertahanan ego ini lebih menunjukan situasi ketegangan didalam menghadapi rintangan hidup sehingga akan membuat jarak yang semakin jauh antara pribadi dengan tujuan-tujuan riil. Reaksi semacam ini dikembangkan jika seseorang merasakan adanya suatu yang menghancurkan pribadinya. Maka cara-cara mempertahankan diri sangat sistimatis dan selalu disiapkan setiap waktu untuk bisa dipakai dengan cara berlebihan.

Tiap manusia mempunyai cara-cara tersendiri didalam mempertahankan egonya. Mekanisme pertahanan diri ini bermacam-macam sifatnya tergantung kepada pibadi yang akan mempergunakan sehubungan problema-problema yang sedang dihadapi. Jenis-jenis mekanisme pertahanan diri tadi antara lain :

1. Kompensasi

Kata kompensasi ini berasal dari bahasa latin yaitu ” compensare” yang berarti menimbang bersama. Dalam biologi istilah kompensasi dimaksud sebagai suatu koreksi terhadap kelemahan suatu organ dengan cara meningkatkan fungsi organ lain yang tidak terganggu. Didalam dunia Psychology, kompensasi ini berarti suatu usaha untuk menutup kekurangan pada sifat yang kurang diinginkan dengan menunjukan sifat lain yang merupakan obyek pengganti atau subtitusi. Mula-mula istilah kompensasi ini diutarakan oleh Adler seorang dokter dan tokoh Individual Psychology di Wina. Pada tahun 1901 ia berasil menerbitkan sebuah buku yang berjudul “Inferiority of organ and their psychic compensation”. dimana didalamnya dia menyatakan bahwa manusia dilahirkan selalu dibebani oleh berbagai kelemahan organis atau organ intiority. Dia beranggapan bahwa seorang yang mengalami kesakitan itu bukan semata-mata disebabkan oleh bibit penyakit tetapi disebabkan oleh kelemahan organis yang dialaminya. Sebab kata penyakit itu sendiri sebenarnya adalah suatu manifestasi personal, yang maksudnya asal usul (organ inferiority) yang akan menentukan seorang itu sakit atau tidak. Berhasil atau tidaknya seseorang dalam mengarungi kehidupan berikutnya sangat ditentukan oleh seberapa jauh ia mampu melakukan kompensasi-kompensasi terhadap kelemahan-kelemahannya. Didalam ilmu jiwa Adler berusaha menghubungkan pengertian organ inferiority ini dengan dinamika dari individu yang berusaha untuk mengatasi atau menutupi kelemahannya, dengan apa yang disebut Adler sebagai usaha kompensasi psikis. Setiap orang dengan berbagai jenis bahan kelemahan organisnya pasti pernah melakukan usaha kompensasi ini, dimana kalau suatu seketika terjadi kegagalan maka akan menimbulkan gangguan-gangguan psychis. Jadi kompensasi adalah suatu reaksi pertahanan ego terhadap rasa kurang berharga dan rasa lebih rendah karena cacat atau kelemahan pribadi serta kegagalan atau kemunduran dimana semua itu akan menyebabkan stres-stres psychologis. Reaksi pertahanan diri (ego) yang berupa kompensasi ini ada beberapa bentuk antara lain :

1.1 Kompensasi positif langsung

Dengan ini individu berusaha melipat-gandakan usaha serta keuletannya untuk secra langsung mengatasi rintangan-rintangan yang sedang dihadapinya. Misalnya seseorang yang mengalami kegagalan dalam ujian, maka ia akan berusaha lebih keras dan lebih sistimatis didalam belajar dengan tujuan agar kegagalannya tadi dapat  teratasi dengan kesuksesan. Cerita lama yang merupakan suatu contoh dari kompensasi langsung yaitu orang Yunani yang bernama “Oesmostonis”. Dia adalah orang yang mempunyai cacat gagap tetapi dengan keuletannya yang mengagumkan ahkirnya ia menjadi orator ulung.

1.2. Kompensasi positif tidak langsung

Reaksi kompensasi positif tidak langsung ini adalah suatu usaha dan cara untuk menutupi kegagalan serta kekurangan-kekurangan yang ada pada dirinya dengan menonjolkan kelebihan-kelebihan yang lainnya. Suatu misal

3 komentar September 13, 2009






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