Objective: To evaluate the Dental Hygienist Beliefs Survey (DHBS) and the test–retest reliability of DHBS in a group of general dental patients.
Material and methods: The DHBS, which is a questionnaire constructed to assess patients’ specific attitudes towards dental hygienists (DHs), was distributed together with the Dental Anxiety Scale adapted to specifically assess fear of DH treatment (DHAS). It was hypothesized that DHBS would correlate with DHAS and gender. The questionnaires were consecutively distributed to 80 patients at their first visit and after a clinical examination performed by a DH student. Retest assessments of DHBS were conducted approximately two weeks later in conjunction with the next visit at the DH student and before treatment (scaling session). The final study sample included 77 adult general dental patients in treatment at an education clinic for DH students.
Results: The results verified a statistically significant correlation between DHBS and DHAS. The DHBS sum of scores showed high internal consistency with Cronbach’s a coefficient of 0.88 and 0.91 at the first and second assessments, respectively, and the test–retest reliability of the DHBS was acceptable with intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.76. No statistically significant association was found between DHBS and gender.
Conclusion: The results suggest that the DHBS is a reliable and stable scale to use to assess patients’ specific attitudes towards DHs. Moreover, DH beliefs are associated with fear of DH treatment.
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