Introduction: A high prevalence of stress among dental
students has been reported.
Aim: To determine perceived stress among dental students
at the University of the Western Cape.
Method: A self-administered questionnaire to students
(n=411) was used to collect data. Variables measured
included demographic characteristics of students and their
perceived stress in the dental environment using the Dental
Environment Stress (DES) survey and the Maslach Burnout
Results: The response rate was 78%. Respondents were
in the 18 to 21 age category; mostly female (n=207); multilingual,
with 63% having English as their home language.
Huge problems identified from the DES were lack of time
for relaxation, inadequate breaks during the day, fear of
failing a year or module, work load, inconsistency between
clinical supervisors and patients being late for appointments.
The MBI found high EE (28.91), low DP (7.13) and
high PA (30.06) scores. Fourth year students experienced
the highest degree of stress on the DES and MBI.
Conclusion: Stressors identified are consistent with
international dental literature. Levels of stress increased
over the academic years and peaked in the fourth year.
Stressors experienced may impact student academic and
future professional development, motivating a need for
intervention at Faculty level.