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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mental health and students' resilience in Canadian dental schools Maragha, Tala


Objectives: To map the mental health and wellness content in the curriculum of all Canadian dental schools, with a focus on the Faculty of Dentistry (FoD) at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and to investigate factors influencing resilience levels among dental students at UBC. Methods: An electronic 29-item survey was distributed to all Canadian dental schools. A situational analysis was conducted to describe the mental health content in UBC’s FoD. The Connor-Davidson 10-Item Resilience Scale was used to measure students’ psychological resilience levels among all UBC’s undergraduate dental students. Students’ de-identified demographic data were also collected. Results: Eight dental schools responded to the survey. All responding schools provided content related to resilience and used didactic sessions to deliver their content and reported having wellness committees and learning communities. None of the schools reported formally evaluating their mental health content. Two main mental health curricular components were identified in UBC’s FoD year 1 curriculum: one didactic session on stress management and one interactive workshop on resilience; 4.5 hours in total. Students who did not receive any mental health content (2020/21 year 1 students) had higher resilience scores (p= 0.043) when compared to students who received both components (2019/20 year 1 students and 2018/19 year 2 students). The multiple linear regression analysis highlighted North American/ European ethnic origins as a predictor for higher resilience levels (p = 0.008). Conclusions: The results of this study showed that all responding Canadian dental schools have at least one form of mental health content in their curricula and/or services, with UBC’s FoD mainly introducing the content over in the first two years. Ethnic origins and major life events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, have likely affected the resilience scores. Curricular activities promoting resilience seemed to not necessarily impact students’ resilience. Further longitudinal studies are needed to further explore the curricular and non-curricular activities in dental schools and their potential influence over dental students’ mental health.

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