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Eur J Dent Educ. 2008 Aug;12(3):144-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0579.2008.00512.x.

Canadian dental students' perceptions of stress and social support.

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Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.


This study explored the relationship between dental school stress and social support reported by undergraduate students in a Canadian dental school. Students completed questionnaires comprised of Dental Environment Scale stress items, social support measures evaluating perceived contact and two proxy measures of social support (marital status and living arrangement). Sixty-two per cent of undergraduate students in all four academic years participated in the study conducted in March--April 2005. Second-year students living with parents had significantly higher adjusted total stress scores (P < 0.001), whilst fourth-year students living with roommates had significantly lower total adjusted stress scores (P = 0.008). Social support systems utilised by students included teacher, parental, student and relationship support. Students who received more support from teachers and from students inside and outside dental school had lower adjusted total stress scores. Multiple regression analysis assessing the effect of social support on total adjusted stress scores identified two significant variables after adjustment: second-year students living with parents (P < 0.001) and low teacher support (P = 0.032). This study identified social support and proxy measures as significant predictors of dental school stress in Canadian dental students. Further studies are needed to elucidate the role of social support and proxy measures as potential dental school stress alleviators.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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