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Stress and burnout in postgraduate dental education

Authors

  • K. Divaris,

    1.  Department of Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
    2.  Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
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  • A. Polychronopoulou,

    1.  Department of Community and Preventive Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of Athens, Athens, Greece
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  • K. Taoufik,

    1.  Department of Community and Preventive Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of Athens, Athens, Greece
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  • C. Katsaros,

    1.  Department of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, School of Dentistry, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
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  • T. Eliades

    1.  Department of Orthodontics and Paediatric Dentistry, Center of Dental Medicine, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
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Kimon Divaris, DDS
228 Brauer Hall, CB#7450
Department of Pediatric Dentistry
UNC School of Dentistry
Chapel Hill
NC 27599
USA
Tel: +1 919 966 2743
Fax: +1 919 966 7992
e-mail: divarisk@dentistry.unc.edu

Abstract

Introduction:  High levels of stress and burnout have been documented among dental students and practicing dentists, but evidence among dental residents and postgraduate students is lacking.

Materials and methods:  Ninety-nine postgraduate students enrolled in clinical, non-clinical and PhD programmes in the Athens University School of Dentistry completed the Graduate Dental Environment Stress (GDES) questionnaire and the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Perceived stress was measured in two domains, academic (GDES-A) and clinical (GDES-C) and burnout was measured using the scales of emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalisation (DP) and personal accomplishment (PA). Analyses relied on descriptive, univariate and multivariate methods based on ANOVA and generalised linear models.

Results:  Participants’ mean age was 30 years; two-thirds were women and practised dentistry independently of their graduate studies. Residents in clinical programmes reported significantly higher levels of perceived stress compared to non-clinical and PhD students (P < 0.05). There were no gender differences in perceived stress. Forty per cent of respondents were burnout ‘cases’ on the EE scale, while this proportion was 38% for reduced PA and smaller, 13% for DP. Perceived stress was positively correlated with all burnout dimensions, whereas independent dental practice and higher age had a protective effect.

Conclusions:  High rates of burnout manifestations were detected among this sample of Greek postgraduate dental students. Perceived stress correlated with burnout and was more pronounced among those enrolled in clinical residency compared to non-clinical and PhD programmes.

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