Effect of year of study on stress levels in male undergraduate dental students
Abdullah M Alzahem,1 Henk T van der Molen,2 Benjamin J de Boer3
1Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) Residency Program, King Abdullah International Medical Research Center/King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences/National Guard Health Affairs, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 2Institute of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; 3Clinical Psychology, Princess Nora University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Objective: Stress among dental students can be a significant threat, resulting in physical and/or mental illness, and have a negative effect on students' performance and the professional practice of dentistry. Stress can occur from different sources. The purpose of this study is to test whether the year of study has an effect on the stress levels of dental students.
Method: Our study consisted of a cross-sectional survey using a modified version of the Dental Environment Stress (DES) questionnaire. The questionnaires were filled out by male undergraduate dental students at King Saud University in Riyadh City during the 2010–2011 academic year (n = 214).
Results: The results show the most common sources of stress: examinations and completing clinical requirements. Moreover, in the five-year lecture-based traditional curriculum, the third year students reported the highest level of stress, whereas the first year reported the lowest level of stress.
Conclusion: Third year undergraduate dental students reported the highest level of stress. This stress could be reduced by reviewing and modifying the dental curriculum by allowing students to have contact with patients more gradually, starting from the first year, in addition to adding stress prevention and intervention programs in dental curricula.
Keywords: dental, education, students, stress, study year
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