AbstractThe aim of this study is to examine primary dental care practitioners’
willingness to treat adolescents with learning disability (LD) in two contrasting
areas of Northern Ireland (NI) and Scotland using Cohen’s accessibility
‘dental health professional’factors (Cohen, 1987).
A non-probability sample of all primary care dentists in the more urban
EHSSB [NI] and remote and rural health board of NHS Highland (Scotland)
(537) in both the Salaried Dental Services (SDS) and General Dental Services
(GDS), were invited to take part in the survey. The main outcome measures
were demographic profile, previous undergraduate and postgraduate
experience, knowledge of LD and its’ management in the clinical setting,
numbers of adolescents with LD treated, attitudes towards individuals LD and
willingness to treat this patient group.
The data was analysed by t-tests, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), factor
analysis and pathway analysis. Three hundred SDS and GDS dentists
completed the self-administered questionnaire. The valid response rate
There was no significant difference in numbers of adolescents with
LD treated in the health boards examined in NI and Scotland.
Willingness to treat adolescents with LD was positively associated with a
social model perspective on disability. This in turn translated to the
development of positive attitudes.
Conversely, dentists who held a medical model of disability, were found to have more negative attitudes and
were less willing to treat adolescents with LD.
The acquisition of knowledge and increased level of undergraduate training in
relation to LD and its’ management would appear to strengthen a social model
perspective and hence promote positive attitudes and willingness to treat those
adolescents with LD. Meanwhile, undergraduate training and knowledge
pertaining to disability did not significantly contribute to dentists
whose beliefs underpinned the medical model of disability. These findings were
consistent for dentists working
in two distinct health board areas of the United Kingdom and within both
the SDS and GDS. Therefore area of work per se (ie rural or urban location)
is not an influential factor in willingness to treat and hence unmet
treatment need. This does not exclude the possibility that area of work may
have a bearing on willingness to treat as a consequence of university attended
for their undergraduate training.
It is recommended that suggestions for undergraduate training and
postgraduate education are commensurate with Government policy
(DoH, 2007) on the mainstreaming of dental services for special care patients.
|Date of Award||2011|
|Supervisor||Ruth Freeman (Supervisor) & Nigel Pitts (Supervisor)|