Perceived stress and well-being in UK and Australian dental hygiene and dental therapy students

M. Harris, J. C. Wilson, S. Hughes, R. J. M. Knevel, D. R. Radford

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Introduction - This study aimed to explore United Kingdom (UK) and Australian (Aus) dental hygiene and dental therapy students’ (DHDTS) perception of stress and well‐being during their undergraduate education. Upon qualification, DHDTS in the UK register as dental therapists (DT), and in Australia, they register as Oral Health Therapists (OHT).

Materials and methods - A questionnaire was distributed to years 1, 2 and 3 DHDTS at the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy (UPDA) in the UK and La Trobe Rural Health School in Australia. The questionnaire consisted of 5 well‐used measurement instruments which included the following: Dental Environment Stress questionnaire (DES); Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS‐21); Scales of Psychological Well‐Being (SPWB); Valuing Questionnaire (VQ); and the Adult Hope Scale (AHS) to collect data on students’ perception of levels of stress and well‐being.

Results - A response rate of 58% (UK) and 55% (Australia) was achieved. Clinical factors and academic work were perceived as stressful for DHDTS in both the UK and Australia. The Australian DHDTS‐perceived stress in the educational environment was significantly higher (P < .002) than the UK DHDTS. The majority of respondents reported levels of depression, anxiety and stress to be within the normal‐to‐moderate range. All students reported high levels of positive well‐being, with no significant differences between the 2 groups.

Conclusions - DHDTS in the UK and Australia identified sources of stress within their undergraduate education, but also perceived themselves as positively functioning individuals.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Dental Education
Early online date25 Apr 2018
Publication statusEarly online - 25 Apr 2018


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