6th March 2012, 3:02pm
Research to probe how dentists deal with pressures at work
A dentist treating a patient Psychologists from the University of Lincoln have launched a study examining how pressures at work affect dentists' clinical decision making.

Former Dentist of the Year Dr Helen Chapman, Dr Susan Chipchase and Dr Roger Bretherton from Lincoln's School of Psychology have been awarded a grant by The Shirley Glasstone Hughes Trust Fund for the study, 'Dentists' emotions and clinical decision making: Individual differences in susceptibility and the development of a coping package'.

During this 15-month project, the researchers will explore the emotions experienced by dentists in their clinical work and identify possible implications.

An early information gathering stage will inform the development of a coping skills package, based on cognitive behavioural principles, which will be evaluated in the last stage of the project.

The research team is currently seeking to recruit a pool of volunteers from the Lincolnshire area (within a 50-mile radius of Lincoln) who might be interested in participating in an hour-long face-to-face interview, which would be conducted at their practice. From this pool, the team hopes to draw a sample of dentists who represent a complete cross section of primary care dentists.

Dr Chapman, Visiting Fellow in the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln, said: "We would like to hear from all types of primary care dentists, including those working for dental corporates, the salaried services and dental foundation trainees, as well as those who trained outside the UK."

The ultimate aim of the research is that the coping skills package will be included as part of dentists' continuing professional development to increase their awareness of how their emotions may impact on their clinical work and equip them with the skills to cope.

The research question was originally posed on the Primary Care Dentistry Research Forum. A survey via the discussion forum of GDPUK found that 60 per cent of participants felt that their clinical decision making was affected by fear on a daily basis. Contributors also felt that training to help cope with the issue is needed.

Dentists interested in participating in the study can contact Dr Helen Chapman on: hchapman@lincoln.ac.uk

They will then be sent a full description of the study so they can make an informed choice about participation. Participants will receive an honorarium for taking part.
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