The Role of Education in the Development of Cultural Competency in Dental Hygiene Students.

Author: Holder-Ballard, C

Source: Journal of Dental Hygiene, 1 January 2007, vol. 81, no. 1, pp. 31-31(1)


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This study seeks to determine if students who completed the 2-year dental hygiene program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center developed in the area of cultural competency, as measured by the Cross-Cultural Adaptability Inventory (CCAI). In addition, this study attempts to ascertain if certain socioeconomic factors influence the development of cross-cultural competency. The sample consisted of a cohort of 32 students enrolled from 2003-2005. Descriptive statistics, ANOVA procedures, dependent t-test, and independent t-test were calculated to determine results.

The CCAI is a 50-item instrument that determines one's cross-cultural adaptability based on 4 constructs: emotional resilience (ER), flexibility/openness (FO), perceptual acuity (PAC), and personal autonomy (PA). The overall CCAI score is computed from the sum of the 4 dimensional scores. The CCAI pre-test was administered to the dental hygiene cohort at the beginning of the 2-year program, followed by the post-test, which was administered prior to program completion. Results of this study revealed minimal evidence of increase in the overall CCAI post-test score (p = .085). The t tests revealed no significant change between pre-test and post-test scores for 3 of the 4 subscales (ER, PAC, and PA) at the .05 level. However, at the .05 level, the FO scale indicated significant change between the pre-test (M = 65.09, SD = 7.67) and post-test scores (M=67.96, SD = 7.81). Lastly, this study found no significant changes in the CCAI pre-test and pos-test scores based on 2 socioeconomic factors, current family status, or parent's educational levels.

The study concluded that the integration of culture-related topics in the educational program is both appropriate and effective. Providing frequent clinical experiences that allow students to interface with diverse populations is an effective strategy for increasing flexibility and openness, one construct of cultural competency.

Document Type: Abstract

Affiliations: The University of Tennessee

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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