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COVID-19 Times and Dental Students: Challenges and Adapting with New Normal
Background Dental students were adversely impacted by coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) leading to changes in their personal and professional lives. They have been under stress and adapting to new technologies and scenarios at the workplace. With the omicron threat looming, new challenges await them. The study aims to assess perceptions, stress, and coping mechanisms adopted by dental students during COVID-19 times, and to invite suggestions to improve the professional scenario.
Methodology A cross-sectional self-administered questionnaire-based study was planned for third- and final-year undergraduate and postgraduate dental students from dental colleges around the Chandigarh region. Convenient sampling was done. Thirty-item questionnaire was sent via email and WhatsApp groups in the form of Google Form. p-Value less than 0.05 was taken as statistically significant.
Results Overall, 389 students participated, with majority (93.8%) being 21 to 25 years of age, females (75.6%), and undergraduates (90.2%). Also, 35% had a positive COVID-19 family history. Social media was the most common source (81.1%) of information regarding the pandemic. The majority received online teaching (84.83%) and gave online exams (58.6%). Altered sleep patterns (81.5%) and increased screen time (82%) were reported. Being female (stress score 11.15; p < 0.001; Mann–Whitney U test), final-year undergraduate (stress score 11.1; p < 0.017; Kruskal–Wallis test), and positive COVID-19 family history (stress score 11.83; p < 0.002; Mann–Whitney U Test) was associated with significantly higher mean stress scores. Watching movies (30%) and sharing a stressful feeling with family (47%) were the most common coping mechanisms. Students suggested flexible work schedules, more offline work with better safety protocol, and counselors for the future.
Conclusion Decreasing number of stressors and increasing involvement in the coping mechanism will help students to better embrace the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Article published online:
05 December 2022
© 2022. Bhojia Dental College and Hospital affiliated to Himachal Pradesh University. This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
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