Attitudes of dental students to hand hygiene practices at a dental school

Gene Craig Stevenson, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Objectives. The purpose of this study was to elucidate behavioral determinants (prevailing attitudes and beliefs) of hand hygiene practices among undergraduate dental students in a dental school. Methods. Statistical modeling using the Integrative Behavioral Model (IBM) prediction was utilized to develop a questionnaire for evaluating behavioral perceptions of hand hygiene practices by dental school students. Self-report questionnaires were given to second, third and fourth year undergraduate dental students. Models representing two distinct hand hygiene practices, termed "elective in-dental school hand hygiene practice" and "inherent in-dental school hand hygiene practice" were tested using linear regression analysis. Results. 58 responses were received (24.5%); the sample mean age was 26.6 years old and females comprised 51%. In our models, elective in-dental school hand hygiene practice and inherent in-dental school hand hygiene practice, explained 40% and 28%, respectively, of the variance in behavioral intention. Translation of community hand hygiene practice to the dental school setting is the predominant driver of elective hand hygiene practice. Intended elective in-school hand hygiene practice is further significantly predicted by students' self-efficacy. Students' attitudes, peer pressure of other dental students and clinic administrators, and role modeling had minimal effects. Inherent hand hygiene intent was strongly predicted by students' beliefs in the benefits of the activity and, to a lesser extent, role modeling. Inherent and elective community behaviors were insignificant. Conclusions. This study provided significant insights into dental student's hand hygiene behavior and can form the basis for an effective behavioral intervention program designed to improve hand hygiene compliance.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Dentistry|Public health|Health education

Recommended Citation

Stevenson, Gene Craig, "Attitudes of dental students to hand hygiene practices at a dental school" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1507225.