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New stressors for GDPs in the past ten years: a qualitative study


Objective: To identify new stressors that general dental practitioners have experienced from those reported in the UK national surveys of 1986 and 1996.

Design: Series of interviews.

Setting: General dental practices from suburban and inner city areas in two health authorities of the North West of England.

Subjects: A random sample of ten general dental practitioners participated; there were no refusals.

Method: In-depth interviews employing a research psychologist were conducted to invite comment on the areas of work pressure they had experienced during the past ten years. Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed and content analysed.

Results: More than 130 statements categorised into 29 topics referred to pressures related to work. There was good agreement (93%) between authors and an independent assessor when a sort of the statements into the defined categories was completed. The most referred area of stress was the system changes of running a practice and the possibility of further changes. Patient expectations were considered to be rising. Aggression exhibited by some patients in the practice, the risk of cross-infection, litigation and the dentist working as a team member were newly identified stressors not included in original classifications of dental work pressure.

Conclusions: Dental practitioners from this small study identified uncertainty in the future of the organisation of dental care provision as the most important new pressure of work


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Humphris, G., Cooper, C. New stressors for GDPs in the past ten years: a qualitative study. Br Dent J 185, 404–406 (1998).

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