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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 128-131

Stress among current and future dental practitioners during COVID-19 lockdown: A cross-sectional study


1 Department of Dentistry (OMR), IGIMS, Patna, Bihar, India
2 Department of Dentistry, IGIMS, Patna, Bihar, India
3 Department of Dentistry (Endodontics), IGIMS, Patna, Bihar, India
4 Department of Dentistry (Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery), IGIMS, Patna, Bihar, India
5 Department of Dentistry (Orthodontics), IGIMS, Patna, Bihar, India

Date of Submission26-Aug-2021
Date of Decision29-Oct-2021
Date of Acceptance08-Nov-2021
Date of Web Publication17-Aug-2021

Correspondence Address:
Nimmi Singh
Department of Dentistry (OMR), IGIMS, Patna, Bihar
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jigims.jigims_36_21

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  Abstract 


Aim: The aim of this study is to assess the psychological effects of the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic among the dental practitioners and students of dentistry.
Materials and Methods: A questionnaire was prepared using the Google forms which were circulated among the dental surgeons. Statistically analysis was performed. The responses were then tabulated.
Results: A total of 247 responses were received. Among them, the majority of the participants had moderate stress, i.e., 33.2% and 15.8% were suffering from severe stress. The major reason for stress of loss of income, liabilities to pay loans, and how and when to resume work.
Conclusion: Social support is an important protective factor to reduce mental stress. The implications for the management of such situation during the pandemic should be given thought.

Keywords: COVID-19, dental surgeons, pandemic


How to cite this article:
Singh N, Singh D, Mishra N, Singh P, Kumar S, Sharma A. Stress among current and future dental practitioners during COVID-19 lockdown: A cross-sectional study. J Indira Gandhi Inst Med Sci 2021;7:128-31

How to cite this URL:
Singh N, Singh D, Mishra N, Singh P, Kumar S, Sharma A. Stress among current and future dental practitioners during COVID-19 lockdown: A cross-sectional study. J Indira Gandhi Inst Med Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jun 29];7:128-31. Available from: http://www.jigims.co.in/text.asp?2021/7/2/128/331750




  Introduction Top


Coronavirus belongs to a large number of virus family. On January 7, 2020, Chinese authorities identified a new strain of coronavirus as the causative agent for the disease. The virus has been renamed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as SARS-CoV-2 and the disease caused by it as COVID-19. In human beings, the COVID-19 can transmit through respiratory route, by coughing, sneezing, touching contaminated objects, and being in close contact with infected patients. Recent research suggests that the incubation period is about 2–14 days. On March 11, 2020, the WHO Director said that there was deep concern about the extent and severity of the COVID-19 epidemic, which the WHO assessed to be characterized as a pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a remarkable threat to public health.[1]

Health workers have always played an important role in the prevention of this disease. The emergency caused by the COVID-19 worldwide has put doctors/dental surgeons services under intense pressure.[2] Dental practioners experience a high level of stress during their practice. High level of stress may have a negative effect. Dentists can come across various sources of stress during their professional life. For some dental professionals, stress related to their financial problem, practice management, social, and particle issues during the COVID-19 pandemic can affect their physical and mental health.[3] This cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence of stress among dental practitioners and to assess the levels and sources of stress of dental professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.[4]

Aim and objectives

Aim

The study aims to find out the psychological effects of the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic among the dental practitioners and students of dentistry.

Objectives

  1. To assess if they are practicing their profession during the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic
  2. To judge what level of stress is they currently experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.



  Materials and Methods Top


Inclusion criteria

  1. Dental surgeons within the age range from 20–60 years and above
  2. All dental professionals.


Exclusion criteria

  1. People who were not willing to participate
  2. Participants who were unable to fill the form on their own
  3. Students who had not yet completed dental professional course.


Study participants

All the male and female dental professionals from our state were invited in the study. All participants who participated in the study were informed about the objectives of the study.

Collection of data

Considering the pandemic situation, a cross-sectional study was conducted among the dental fraternity of between the age group of 20 and above 60 years and belonging to different categories with the aim of assessing the psychological effects of the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic among the dental practitioners and students of dentistry.

After surveying various related questionnaires, a form was created using Google forms and distributed to be filled out. The participants were informed about the anonymous nature of the study being conducted and 1 week was given to whoever wanted to voluntarily respond. Completed questionnaires were collected during the lockdown. Responses to additional questions relating to student, private practioners, government employee, marital status, and major reasons of your stress were also collected. Two hundred and forty-seven responses were collected during this time following which the statistical analysis of the data was done. The outcome variable stress was categorized dichotomously as stress (no/yes) and level of stress (mild, moderate, and severe).

The following questionnaires were collected.

  1. Which category you belong to student and private/government employee?
  2. Are you practicing your profession during the lockdown?
  3. If not practicing, is it causing financial burden for you and your family?
  4. What level of stress are you currently experiencing?
  5. What are the major reasons of your stress?



  Results Top


This was a descriptive, cross-sectional study conducted with the help of Google forms from May 29 to June 05. Dental practitioners and students who have obtained their degree were enrolled, within the given age range. A total of 247 responses were received. Out of the category of students to private/government employee, 30.4% were students, 59.5% private practitioners, and 10.1% were government employee [Graph 1]. Upon being asked if they are practicing their profession during the lockdown, if not then is it causing any financial burden for them or their family. Maximum number, 86.2% of doctors were not practicing, whereas only 13.8% were practicing [Graph 2]. About 60.7% answered yes and 39.3% said no regarding financial burden [Graph 3].



To assess the level of stress, dentist are currently experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them 15.8% were normal and 31.6% had mild stress. The majority of the participants had moderate stress, i.e., 33.2% and 15.8% were suffering from severe stress [Graph 4]. The response to final questionnaire, the major reasons of their stress. While there are several reasons for this but 47.4% said loss of income. About 34.4% liabilities of repaying loans, EMI, 50.6% not being able to resume work, and 36.4% loss of social life. Among them 61.1% said the main reason for stress was risk of contacting the coronavirus. [Graph 5].




  Discussion Top


This study presented a comprehensive analysis of the COVID-19 outbreak situation in India. COVID-19 is highly infectious and spread rapidly, with suspected and confirmed patients increasing daily.[2] The results of this study showed mild-to-moderate level of stress among dental professionals.[5],[6] Wolf et al. quoted[5] that the findings of their study suggest that the level of psychosocial stress was higher during COVID-19 among medical/dental students and practitioners.[7] Our study was concurrence with Betty et al. Public health emergencies may affect the health, safety, and well-being of health workers. Of 247 invited dental professionals, 32.2% were going through moderate and 15.8% severe stress. Similar study was conducted by Tan Y. Q et al. who stated the prevalence of anxiety and stress was higher among health-care workers.[8] The outbreak of coronavirus disease had caused an emergency situation in health system worldwide. Dental department are most exposed to airborne and blood-borne infections. Dental hospitals could be the most affected areas of coronavirus transmission, probably by droplets and aerosols. Dental infection control measures are necessary to prevent further spread. Such facts and knowledge about Covid 19 infection in dental settings, led to almost shutdowns of dental practices in many places.

In our present study, 59.5% private practitioners enrolled in the study and were not practicing during this pandemic era. Among them, the majority of the participants had moderate stress, i.e., 33.2% and 15.8% were suffering from severe stress. The major reason for stress of loss of income, liabilities to pay loans, and how and when to resume work. Many people may be facing increased level of anxiety and insomnia, due to isolation, loss of income during COVID-19 lockdown, and such fears are triggering mental health. Findings of Cabarkapa et al. demonstrated that there are psychological implications to HCWs during the pandemic, suggesting an increased risk of acquiring trauma or stress-related disorders, depression, and anxiety. Fear of becoming infected was at the forefront of the mental challenges faced.[9]

As the pandemic continues and considering the fact that the infrastructure facilities provided to the health care in India and the high rate of infectivity of the virus, it is of utmost important to realize, important clinical and policy strategies are needed to support health-care workers. Psychological support could include counseling services and development of support systems among colleagues.[10]

The COVID-19 pandemic created a public health emergency that is rapidly altering the provision of health-care services across the country based on guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal, state, and local government directives.[11] Although necessary, these measures have raised concern about the potential liability of physicians and other health-care professionals who are responding to the pandemic and continue to provide high-quality patient care while adhering to these guidance and recommendations.[12]


  Conclusion Top


Social support is an important protective factor to reduce mental stress. The implications for the management of such situation during the pandemic should be given thought. The concern authority should pay attention to the stress of the dental professionals who are fighting for their survival as well as coping stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. They should offer solutions to retain their work to come out of mental health and stress. Furthermore, the worries of these should be relieved. Change needs to start at the level of policy-makers to offer an enhanced variety of supports to HCWs who play a critical role during the outbreaks of devastating disease.

Limitations

This study only investigated the dental professionals. Due to time limitation, only a questionnaire survey was conducted. Consequently, future research can expand the region and increase the sample size.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Containment Plan of Large Outbreaks Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19) Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Governmentof India. Available from: https://www.mohfw.gov.in. [Last accessed on 2020 May 16].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Mo Y, Deng L, Zhang L, Lang Q, Liao C, Wang N, et al. Work stress among Chinese nurses to support Wuhan in fighting against COVID-19 epidemic. J Nurs Manag 2020;28:1002-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Rada RE, Johnson-Leong C. Stress, burnout, anxiety and depression among dentists. J Am Dent Assoc 2004;135:788-94.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Abdulghani HM, AlKanhal AA, Mahmoud ES, Ponnamperuma GG, Alfaris EA. Stress and its effects on medical students: A cross-sectional study at a college of medicine in Saudi Arabia. J Health Popul Nutr 2011;29:516-22.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Wolf TM, Randall HM, Faucett JM. A survey of health promotion programs in U.S. and Canadian medical schools. Am J Health Promot 1988;3:33-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Lee EH. Erratum to review of the psychometric evidence of the perceived stress scale. Asian Nurs Res 2012;6:121-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Pfefferbaum B, North CS. Mental health and the COVID-19 pandemic. N Engl J Med 2020;383:510-2.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Tan BY, Chew NW, Lee GK, Jing M, Goh Y, Yeo LL, et al. Psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health care workers in Singapore. Ann Intern Med 2020;173:317-20.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Cabarkapa S, Nadjidai SE, Murgier J, Ng CH. The psychological impact of COVID-19 and other viral epidemics on frontline healthcare workers and ways to address it: A rapid systematic review. Brain Behav Immun Health 2020;8:100144.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Kamath S, Kamath R, Salins P. COVID-19 pandemic in India: Challenges and silver linings. Postgrad Med J 2020;96:422-3.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Laxminarayan R. What India Needs to Fight the Virus; 2020. Available from: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/opinion/india-coronaviruslockdown.html. [Last accessed on 2020 Mar 27].  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
AMA; Liability Protections for Health Care Professionals during COVID-19. Available from: https://www.ama-assn.org/. [Last accessed on 2020 May 29].  Back to cited text no. 12
    




 

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Abstract
Introduction
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