Eur J Dent Educ. 2021 Aug;25(3):621-633. doi: 10.1111/eje.12640. Epub 2020 Dec 14.
INTRODUCTION: The outbreak and diffusion of the novel SARS-CoV2 coronavirus have caused an emergency status in the dental education system.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: An anonymous survey composed of 34 questions was delivered to students of the Master Degree Programme in Dentistry and Dental Prosthodontics of the Universities of Emilia-Romagna, the fifth Italian region most affected by the pandemic. The psychological impact of COVID-19 was assessed by means of the Generalised Anxiety Disorder-7 scale (GAD-7). Numerically recoded data were analysed using the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), whilst to investigate the association between quantitative variables, the Pearson correlation coefficient (R) was computed.
RESULTS: The questionnaire was completed by 399 students (75%) out of 532. Most students experienced difficulties in working at the thesis during the COVID-19 emergency. For over half of them, online teaching could only partially replace traditional face-to-face lessons. The negative impact on the study career was judged as particularly high by sixth-year students. Clinical training activities were considered as exposing to the risk of contracting COVID-19 infection by the majority of the students. The level of concern of contracting COVID-19 infections during future university activities was positively correlated to risk perception related to clinical training.
CONCLUSION: The results of this survey could be used to train students to a correct risk assessment. Students reported experiencing concern whilst thinking of COVID-19 and 6.5% of them showed symptoms related to high levels of anxiety. These data may guide Universities in trying to reduce students’ anxiety by means of correct communication strategies.