Perceived Wellbeing in Undergraduate Dental Students: a Pilot Study
Objectives: The aim of this pilot study is to measure wellbeing and sources of stress at its current level in dental students in Cork University Dental School and Hospital (CUDH).
Methods: Following ethical approval, an online questionnaire was distributed to undergraduate dental students in CUDH. The Perceived Wellness Survey (PWS) and modified Dental Environment Stress (DES) questionnaires were included, as well as questions on student demographics.
Results: There were 72 respondents, giving a response rate of 27.3% with the age ranging from 18 to 28. 66.2% of the respondents were female.
The mean wellness composite score (WCS) for all students was 14.01. There was no significant difference between the WCS of students of different year groups or genders. There were significant differences in the mean wellness subscales scores in all years, with the lowest wellbeing exhibited in the psychological and emotional wellness categories, and highest in the social wellness category.
In the DES questionnaire, female students exhibited higher stress scores than their male counterparts in 23 out of 34 questions, three of which were statistically significant.
Differences in stress scores between year groups was deemed statistically significant in 15 of 34 questions. The mean stress score generally trends upwards with year of study, with fifth-year students showing the highest mean DES score, followed by third-year dental students. When identifying individual stressors, the academic domain was shown to be most stressful for all years, with examinations and grades featuring as one of the three highest stressors across all of the year groups.
Conclusions: This study establishes a baseline of general wellbeing and highlights key areas of stress for dental students studying at CUDH.