ANALYSIS OF MOTIVATIONS OF DENTAL STUDENTS TO SELECT AN OPTIONAL COURSE
OBJECTIVE: to explore the motivations of dental students for enrollment in an optional health education course. METHODS: on a sample of 84 dental students who are enrolled in the optional Health Education course, a questionnaire was applied to investigate aspects related to personal motivations for the choice of this subject. The questionnaire presented 21 items grouped into 3 dimensions: (1) Social benefits (items 1-3-5-6), (2) Personal benefits (personal legitimacy: economic and / or social) (items 2-7-8-9 -10-11-12-13-14) and (3) Development of creative potentials (reagents 4-15-16-17-18-19-20-21). The responses were recorded using a Lickert type scale (value 1-5) considered as ordinal categories, in which the value 1 represented the highest agreement with the reagent, therefore the lowest total score value (PT) represented the highest agreement with the global instrument. The instrument also allowed to register age, gender, nationality, and number of approved subjects, and was applied, personally, anonymously and voluntarily. Statistical processing included frequency distribution and percentages for each variable. The Cronbach coefficient was applied in order to establish the reliability of the scale. RESULTS: 75% of the sample were female (age: 21 ± 2 years). The total Cronbach's α value was 0.823. The mean PT of the instrument was 49.93 ± 1.01 (49.89 ± 1.27 for females and 50.5 ± 1.44 for males). When analyzing the domains, the “Social Benefits” domain obtained a score of 6.33 ± 0.32 (31.7% of the maximum score); the domain "Personal Benefit", a score of 25.07 ± 0.56 (55.7% of the maximum score) and the domain "Development of creative potentials", a score of 18.52 ± 0.43 (46.3 % of maximum score). CONCLUSIONS: the elaborated instrument allows to show different motivations for the choice of an optional subject related to oral health care in undergraduate students of a dental school.