Dentists feeling “dissatisfied with life”

DENTISTS are almost twice as likely as the general population to feel dissatisfied with life, according to research from the British Dental Association.

Figures also suggested general dental practitioners (GDPs) who mainly carry out NHS work are less happy than those who mainly do private work.

A total of 481 community dentists and 903 GDPs responded to the survey in June and July 2014, with results published in the report Is there a well-being gap among UK dentists?

Almost half of the GDPs and community dentists surveyed (47 per cent) reported low levels of life satisfaction with a similar proportion (44 per cent) reporting low levels of happiness. Almost six out of 10 GDPs said they experienced high levels of anxiety during the day compared to 55 per cent of community dentists.

Among associates, stress levels increased in line with the number of hours worked. Those who worked part time (30 hours or less) reported higher levels of well-being than those working full time.

Four out of five GDPs perceived their general health as “good”, with almost 40 per cent describing it as “very good”. Dentists aged under 35 rated their health most highly, but this feeling diminished gradually with age.

The report concluded that there is indeed a “well-being gap” between the dental profession and the general population. This is consistent, it states, with wider research suggesting UK dentists are exposed to “occupation-specific stressors which put them at risk of high levels of work-related stress”.

The BDA said it plans to build on the research by examining further the relationship between working conditions, high job stress and mental well-being in dentists. “A key aim of this research will be to develop effective strategies for preventing high levels of work-related stress and reducing levels of burnout among dentists,” the report added.