December 2013

Volume 30, Issue 4

Dentists’ training and willingness to treat adolescents with learning disabilities: the mediating role of social and clinical factors

Authors: C.F. Coyle G.M. Humphris R. Freeman
doi: 10.1922/CDH_3267Freeman06

Abstract

Aim: To test a theoretical model based on Cohen’s dental profession factors (training; practitioner attitudes; geography) to investigate practitioners’ willingness to treat adolescents with learning disabilities (LD) in primary dental care. Participants: A sample of all 537 primary care dentists working in a mainly urban area of Northern Ireland and a more rural area of Scotland. Main outcome measure: Willingness to treat adolescents with LD. Method: Questionnaire survey of demographic profile, undergraduate education, current knowledge, attitudes towards individuals with LD and willingness to treat this patient group. A path analytical approach (multiple meditational model) was used. Results: Three hundred dentists participated giving a valid response rate of 61%. Undergraduate education and current knowledge (training) strengthened a social model perspective promoting positive attitudes and willingness to treat adolescents with LD. Undergraduate education and current knowledge about disability did not significantly contribute to dentists whose attitudes were underpinned by the medical model of disability. Therefore geography (rural or urban location) was not an influential factor in willingness to treat adolescents with LD. This does not exclude the possibility that area of work may have an influence as a consequence of undergraduate university attended. Conclusion: This model identifies the importance of undergraduate and continuing dental education with regard to modifying professional attitudes (social and clinical factors) to assist practitioners treat adolescents with LD and provide them with inclusive dental services in primary dental care. Key words: learning disabilities, access, willingness, attitudes, knowledge

£10 single article

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