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Attitudes to dental hygienists: evaluation of the Dental Hygienist Beliefs Survey in a Swedish population of patients and students.

Journal article
Authors Kajsa H. Abrahamsson
Jane Stenman
K Öhrn
Magnus Hakeberg
Published in International journal of dental hygiene
Volume 5
Issue 2
Pages 95-102
ISSN 1601-5029
Publication year 2007
Published at Institute of Odontology
Pages 95-102
Language en
Keywords Adult, Age Factors, Attitude, Dental Anxiety, psychology, Dental Hygienists, Female, Humans, Male, Manifest Anxiety Scale, Middle Aged, Professional-Patient Relations, Psychological Tests, Psychometrics, Questionnaires, Sex Factors, Sweden
Subject categories Dentistry


The aim was to evaluate and test the psychometric properties of the Dental Hygienist Beliefs Survey (DHBS) in a Swedish sample of different patient groups and students. It was hypothesized that negative dental hygienist beliefs would discriminate between fearful and non-fearful study groups. The DHBS was distributed together with the revised Dental Beliefs Survey (DBS-R) and the Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS). The study sample included 394 subjects (130 students, 144 general dental patients, 90 periodontal patients and 30 patients on a waiting list for dental fear treatment). The results verified that the DHBS discriminates well between dentally fearful and non-fearful study groups. The DHBS had high internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.96-0.98) in all the groups. The correlation between the DHBS and the DBS-R was high (rho = 0.82, P < 0.001). Furthermore, the DHBS correlated significantly with the DAS, as well as with a low but significant correlation to age (more negative attitudes in younger age groups) and gender (more negative attitudes amongst women). Regression analysis showed that gender and the DHBS items: 23, 16 and 28, i.e. items related to feeling helpless, worries/fears not being taken seriously and fear about 'bad news' possibly preventing treatment, were the most important predictors of dental fear. The results suggest that the DHBS may be a valid and reliable scale to use in order to assess patient's specific attitudes to dental hygienists. However, the psychometric properties including test-retest analysis and the underlying factor structure of the DHBS need to be further explored.

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