Research | Published:

A survey of stress, burnout and well-being in UK dentists

BDJ volume 226, pages 4049 (11 January 2019) | Download Citation

Key points

  • Shows that high levels of self-reported stress and burnout were found in UK dentists.

  • Highlights that the top stressors reported by UK dentists relate to regulation, with fear of litigation reported as the most stressful aspect of practising dentistry.

  • Suggests future interventions should not solely focus on individual solutions such as stress management, but also look at global solutions such as changing aspects of the working environment.

Abstract

Introduction

It is well established that dentistry is a stressful profession, primarily due to the nature and working conditions in the dental surgery. With dramatic changes taking place in the profession in recent years it is important to establish the impact this has on dentists' well-being.

Aims

To determine the levels of stress and burnout in UK dentists and how this relates to well-being and identify the sources of work-related stress dentists report in different fields of practice.

Materials and method

An online survey comprising of validated measures examining stress, burnout and well-being in dentists was administered to British Dental Association (BDA) members and non-members.

Results

Valid responses were received from 2053 respondents. Dentists working in the UK exhibit high levels of stress and burnout and low well-being. General dental practitioners (GDPs) seem to be particularly affected. Issues relating to regulation and fear of litigation were deemed to be the most stressful aspects of being a dentist.

Conclusions

The findings from this study build upon existing research showing that dentistry is a stressful profession. The sources of this stress appear to have shifted over the years, highlighting the changing landscape of dentistry. Interventions should focus on addressing these stressors by making changes to the working conditions of dentists.

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Acknowledgements

Thank you to the BDA Trust and the Shirley Glasstone Hughes Trust for funding this research, and all of those who participated.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. British Dental Association, Policy and Research, British Dental Association, 64 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 8YS

    • V. Collin
    • , E. O'Selmo
    •  & P. Whitehead
  2. Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF10 3EU

    • M. Toon
    •  & L. Reynolds

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to V. Collin.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2019.6