Canadian Dental Students' Perceptions of Stress
• Vanessa Muirhead, BSc, BDS, MSc •
• David Locker, BDS, PhD •
A b s t r a c t
In this paper, we report the results of a survey on dental student stress carried out in April 2005. A questionnaire was used to collect data from 171 students (62% response rate). Identified stressors were academic, clinic-related, social and financial. “Examination and grades” produced the most academic stress, and inconsistent feedback from instructors created the most clinic-related stress. Students found that having a dual role — wife or husband and dental student — was the most burdensome social stressor. Approximately 60% of students reported marital problems and stress associated with “relations with members of the opposite sex.” Survey results showed that students who expected a high graduating debt had higher total and academic stress scores.
Total stress was not related to age, gender or marital status. Students living with parents during term time had significantly higher total stress scores than students living in other arrangements. Students residing with parents also had significantly higher debts on entry to dental school. Students with more predental education had (non-significantly) lower stress scores but also had higher student debts. Undergraduate subject major (biological science or non-science) had no bearing on reported stress.
This study highlights the negative effects of student debt, the necessity for staff training and the need for further studies exploring relations among stress, psychological well-being and academic performance
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