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J Dent Educ. 2006 Sep;70(9):996-1003.

Characteristics and study motivation of clinical dental students in Nigerian universities.

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  • 1Department of Child Dental Health, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria.


A cross-sectional study of a cohort of 197 clinical dental students in the four accredited dental schools in Nigeria was conducted to determine the sociodemographic characteristics of these dental students and their motives for the choice of dentistry. The results indicate that the number of female dental students in Nigeria is increasing, which reflects a trend well established in virtually all other nations. The vast majority of Nigerian dental students (97 percent) qualified for school based on their performance on the University Matriculation Examination. About one-third, 32.5 percent, indicated that dentistry was their first choice for a career. This choice was greatly influenced by family in 50 percent of this group of students. There were several factors that strongly influenced career choice among students who indicated that dentistry was their first choice: interest, prestige, good employment opportunity abroad, and regular work hours. The need to go into a prestigious and financially lucrative profession similar to medicine were the commonest reasons identified by the group of students for whom dentistry was not the first career choice. The motives for choosing dentistry as a career in this group of students seem to relate to an image of dentistry as a vehicle for the achievement of personal goals. It is recommended that high school students be encouraged to see dentistry first hand. This is because in countries such as Nigeria it is not unusual for a potential dental student to have never visited the dentist.

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