Article

Gender differences in first-year dental students' motivation to attend dental school.

Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Community Oral Health, University of Tennessee College of Dentistry, Memphis 38163, USA.
Journal of dental education (Impact Factor: 1.04). 09/2002; 66(8):952-61.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Women's role in the field of dentistry has historically been limited to the dental auxiliary fields, rather than that of D.D.S. or D.M.D. Today, women are nearly 38 percent of U.S. dental school students and 14 percent of active practitioners. The slow(er) influx of women into dentistry has been little studied by dental educators. During the 2000-01 academic year, we conducted a survey of first-year dental students at a sample of publicly funded U.S. dental schools. The purpose of the survey was to assess gender differences in motives for pursuing a dental career. The data show that male dental students rate self-employment and business-related motives as more important, while female dental students rate people-oriented motives more highly. Factor analysis revealed four distinct clusters of motives for pursuing a dental career: a financial motive, a business-oriented motive, a people-oriented or caring motive, and a flexibility motive. Women scored significantly higher than men on the caring factor, whereas the reverse was true on the business factor. Male and female students rated financial and flexibility motives equally. The implications of the results for attracting students to the profession of dentistry are discussed.

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