A descriptive pilot study of the immediate impacts of COVID-19 on dental and dental hygiene students’ readiness and wellness

Aderonke A. Akinkugbe, Dina T. Garcia, Carlos S. Smith, Tegwyn H. Brickhouse, Maghboeba Mosavel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: The ongoing novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted dental students training across the U.S. academic dental institutions by moving classroom instruction to an online modality, limiting patient care, canceling external rotations, and rescheduling of licensure examinations. Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the immediate impacts of COVID-19 on students’ readiness to enter clinical practice or residency and its association with well-being (anxiety, perceived stress, coping and social support, and resilience). Methods: An online REDCap survey was distributed to 407 D1–D4 year dental students and 29 DH3–DH4 year dental hygiene students enrolled at a U.S. dental school. The survey consisted of readiness and wellness measures as well as socio-demographic variables. Results: Overall response rate was 58% (N = 252) ranging from 40% among D4 students to 72% among D1 students. About half (55%) of the respondents were White, a third (34%) Asians and 5% were African Americans. Ninety-two percent were non-Hispanics while 62% were female. Overall mean (SD) anxiety score was 6.5 (5.3) and 26% of respondents reported moderate or severe levels of anxiety. Anxiety score differed significantly by gender with females reporting higher anxiety levels, mean (SD) = 7.3 (5.5) versus 5.2 (4.7) for males; P = 0.002). Furthermore, mean anxiety score differed significantly among the dental school classes, ranging from 5.5 (5.3) among D2 students to 11.8 (6.2) in DH4 students (P = 0.02). Conclusion: Academic dental institutions need to be responsive to the heightened anxiety and uncertainly levels of students and provide responsive training and support to mitigate its effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-410
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Dental Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • clinical practice
  • dental hygiene students
  • dental students
  • readiness
  • wellness


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