Date of Conferral







Jennifer Smolka


As with traditional healthcare providers, emotional-social intelligence (ESI) plays a role in the holistic practitioner-client relationship. It is important to determine if students in holistic healthcare programs increase their ESI, and subsequently better serve their clients. The purpose of this quantitative, quasi-experimental study was to determine if online education can develop students' ESI at levels similar to that of traditional programs. This study is based on the theory of ESI and transformative learning theory. The sample consisted of 95 students in an online program and 61 in a traditional program. Multiple linear regression, ANCOVA, and Pearson Correlation's were used to explore the relationships between the independent variables professional standing, program delivery method, program progress, and number of classes with elements consistent with transformative learning theory, and the dependent variable emotional-social intelligence, as measured by the EQ-i 2.0 survey. The results of the study revealed no significant differences in the development of ESI between online and traditional methodologies, except within the self-expression category, for which online was higher. The number of transformative classes taken had no effect on the dependent variable. The positive social change implications of this study include a better understanding of the development of ESI for holistic healthcare, which could lead to a greater potential for success, as well as being better able to contribute to the stability of their communities through meeting the needs of those seeking their services. In addition, determining the relationship between transformative theories of learning and ESI development may assist in creating courses better suited to increasing students' ESI.