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: 0.97). 09/2002; 66(8):952-61.
Source: PubMed


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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    • "In this study, a relatively higher percentage of respondents agreed to a considerable or great extent with “high income” and “high professional status” compared with other motivating factors; this reflects the influence of monetary and social factors on the minds of majority of the students. A study evaluating first-year dental students’ motivations for attending dental school demonstrated that the relative importance of factors influencing students to choose dentistry may differ between the genders [2]. The results of this study showed that more women than men endorsed “high professional status” as a motivation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Aim: The purpose of this study was to determine the career motivations, perceptions of the future of dentistry and preferred postgraduate specialties of Saudi dental students. Methods: A pretested, self-administered, 16-item questionnaire was distributed to first- through fifth-year dental students at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and the level of significance was set at 5%. Results: Of the 530 potential participants, 329 students (198 male and 131 female respondents) completed the questionnaire. High professional status (71.4%), a secure career (67.8%), a high income (78.1%), flexible working hours (54.4%), a wide range of career options after graduation (59.3%), opportunities for self-employment (69.3%) and good job opportunities abroad (65.3%) were endorsed to a great/considerable extent by the respondents. “It takes time to establish a practice” (62.3%), “Postgraduate education is a necessity” (72.4%) and “The increasing number of dental institutions is a threat to the profession” (59.3%) were endorsed to a great or considerable extent by the respondents. The most popular specialty among the male students was oral maxillofacial surgery (20.1%) and among female students was operative dentistry (23.4%). Conclusion: The career motivations of this group of dental students seemed to relate to socioeconomic aspects of dentistry and perceptions of the future of dentistry seemed to relate to the need for postgraduate education.
    The Open Dentistry Journal 09/2014; 8(1):129-35. DOI:10.2174/1874210601408010129
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    • "Factor analysis was used to provide additional insight into basic dimensions around which students’ motives were organized. This helped to give better understanding of the central themes around which students have organized their thinking [10]. Each item that loaded at 0.60 or greater on only one factor was included as an item for a given factor [8,13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Students’ motives for studying Dentistry have been a subject of interest for years because of the potential for understanding the psychological makeup and subsequent job satisfaction for the dentist. It is also useful in identifying expectations of the profession. This study therefore tried to identify study motives and career preferences of dental students especially with respect to the practice of paediatric dentistry. Methods This was a cross-sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire. The final year students in six dental schools in Nigeria were required to fill the questionnaire. Students were asked to rank their motives and career preferences on a Likert like scale with points ranging from 0–5 where 0 represented a factor that had no influence on their decision and 5 represented a very influential factor. The underlying dimensions for study motives, career preference, impression about and motive for interest in the practice of paediatric dentistry were identified using factor analysis. Results One hundred and seventy nine of 223 students (80.3%) participated in this study. Motives for the practice of dentistry included characteristics of the profession, altruism and intellectual challenges, existence of artistic theme in dentistry and parent’s recommendation. Overall, 67.1% of respondents indicated interest in postgraduate studies and 50.8% were interested in paediatric dentistry practice. The main motives for showing interest in the practice of paediatric dentistry were ‘personal interest, professional interest and interest of significant others in children’, and ‘family influence’. Significantly more males than females were interested in the practice of paediatric dentistry though the motives for interest in the practice of paediatric dentistry did not differ significantly by sex or age. Conclusion The non-significant sex difference in the motives for interest in the practice of paediatric dentistry is a possible reflection of changes in strong cultural themes in the motives for career choices in Nigeria.
    BMC Medical Education 07/2014; 14(1):130. DOI:10.1186/1472-6920-14-130 · 1.22 Impact Factor
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    • "Previous studies reported that male and female students tended to score their consideration of influencing factors differently (Bernabe et al., 2006; Scarbecz et al., 2002). For example, female students scored empathetic reasons, such as caring and helping people, higher than males did. "

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