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Acta Odontol Scand. 2006 Oct;64(5):255-61.

Moral values and career: factors shaping the image of healthy work for female dentists.

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Department of Oral Public Health, Faculty of Odontology, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden.



Female unpromoted general practice dentists (GPDs) constitute about one-quarter of all dentists in Sweden. These female dentists suffer from many problems relating to their psychosocial working conditions. There are wide discrepancies between their perception of the ideal job situation and reality. Previously, three factors were found to constitute the ideal job situation. The aim of this study was to analyze patterns in two of these factors, i.e. the moral and the career factors, for understanding how ideal circumstances are conceived, i.e. how "good work" for the dentists could be obtained.


In the year 2000, all female unpromoted GPDs (183 persons) within the Public Dental Health Service (PDHS) in a region in Sweden received a questionnaire; response rate 94%. Four multiple regression models were constructed for two factors of good work and for the differences between the ideal job situation and reality concerning these factors.


In all models, the explained variance was high. Those dentists who were committed to moral issues perceived large differences between the ideal and reality concerning moral values. Dentists committed to career issues experienced large differences between the ideal and reality concerning career development. Those dentists - about 60% - who would not want to be a dentist if they were to choose today, perceived large discrepancies concerning moral and career issues.


The PDHS organization has failed to convince or engage those whom it ought to engage, that is those with the highest level of commitment. Dentists' emphasis on moral values confirms the character of dentistry as primarily a human service work.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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