Eur J Dent Educ 2019 Apr 19. Epub 2019 Apr 19.
DCT 1 Special Care Dental Services, Buckinghamshire Priority Dental Service, Eaglestone Health Centre, Milton Keynes, UK.
Introduction: This study gathered information about life outside of the course for undergraduates studying at the School of Dentistry, Cardiff University. The aim was to explore how these external factors to the course may affect an individual's academic performance and well-being.
Materials And Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used. An online questionnaire designed for the purpose of the study was used to capture (quantitative and qualitative) data. Questions with dichotomous options, a range of statements with Likert scales (level of agreement) and open (free-text) questions were used. Data were analysed in SPSS using simple descriptive statistics and frequency distributions. Spearman's Rho was used to explore relationships for scaled categorical data. Content analysis was used for qualitative data.
Results: Two-thirds (n = 69, 63%) of participants reported being very stressed about their studies in the previous 12 months. The majority felt that external factors to their course (eg, lack of sleep, health issues, financial concerns, hobbies and issues with friends) had impacted on their academic lives with only 9% (n = 10) stating that their lives outside dentistry had no effect.
Discussion: Those who felt able to pursue hobbies and activities reported a better work-life balance and less stress. Questions about pursuing hobbies and sleep may help identify students at risk of being stressed or who may benefit from additional support in order to achieve a better work-life balance.
Conclusion: This study has highlighted key areas for further investigation and opportunities for improving support to reduce student stress and improve well-being.