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J Dent Res Dent Clin Dent Prospects. 2016 Fall;10(4):270-279. doi: 10.15171/joddd.2016.043. Epub 2016 Dec 21.

Environmental and perceived stress in Australian dental undergraduates: Preliminary outcomes.

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Westfund Health, Mackay, Australia.
School of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University, Cairns, Australia.
Eden Dental Surgery, Eden, Australia.
School of Dentistry and Health Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Orange, Australia.


Background. Dental students have reported a high prevalence of psychological stress and the causes are associated with the challenging dental environmental and demographic factors. This study aimed to conduct a preliminary investigation on dental students' stress status, using a sample of first-to-third-year Bachelor of Dental Surgery students in an Australian university. Special interests included causes of dental environmental stress and access to help services. Methods. A sample of 145 students was surveyed with a modified Dental Environmental Survey and Depression Anxiety Stress Scale in 2014. The participants' demographic information was also collected. Results. The response rate was 95.4%. Second-year (P = 0.042), third-year (P < 0.001) and employed students (P = 0.027) were more likely to report stress resulting from transition to clinical learning. Third-year students were more often stressed about communicating and approaching staff (P = 0.023) as well as different opinions between staff (P < 0.001) and reduced holidays (P < 0.001). Students that were younger than 21 years of age (P = 0.001), that were first years (P < 0.001), and that were not in a relationship (P = 0.010) more often found difficulty of course work stressful. Students who were not in a relationship more often considered learning manual dexterity a source of stress (P = 0.034). Students previously seeking professional help were more likely to be stressed (P = 0.010). Conclusion. Causes of dental environment stress varied among years of study and demographic backgrounds. Professional support to stressed students should be enhanced. Further investigation is indicated.


Dental environmental stress; dental education; dental students; perceived stress

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