Assessment of communication skills and self-efficacy levels in general and postgraduate dentistry students in 2020: A cross-sectional study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Associate Professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Health Education and Promotion, School of Public Health, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

3 Pediatric Dentistry, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran



BACKGROUND AND AIM: Physician-patient communication is the most prominent part of medical art. The ability of the healthcare professional team to communicate appropriately can influence the patient's experience as well as the patient's overall health. The objective of the present study was to examine the communication skills and self-efficacy levels in general and postgraduate dentistry students of Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.
METHODS: The present cross-sectional study was conducted on general students (4th year to 6th year) and postgraduate dentistry students at School of Dentistry, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences from 9.9.2020 to 9.23.2020 in the academic year 2020/2021. A pilot-tested, communication skill and self-efficacy assessment questionnaire was distributed to the participants. The reliability and validity of the questionnaire were verified and confirmed. Moreover, a demographic questionnaire with questions on basic demographic information was included at the beginning of the questionnaire. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-test, and Spearman correlation coefficient via SPSS software.
RESULTS: The overall response rate on the survey was 57%. In total, 85.4% of the participants were general dentistry students, 38.2% of whom were fourth-year students. The grade point average (GPA) was 16.09 ± 1.61. Most of the students scored above average in various areas of communication skills. No significant difference was found between general and postgraduate students except in the field of closure. A positive correlation was found between self-efficacy and all fields of communication skills including introduction and reception (r = 0.486), medical history (r = 0.591), clinical checkup (r = 0.673), closure (r = 0.423), and patient (r = 0.507).
CONCLUSION: The results showed a significant correlation between self-efficacy and all field s of communication skills among general and postgraduate students. Well-designed training courses addressing communication skills are recommended in both general and postgraduate dentistry practice. Since self-efficacy and communication skills are inter-correlated, enhancing students' self-efficacy can improve the dentist-patient communication.


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