Depression, anxiety and stress in a cohort of Australian dentistry students

Nicole Stormon, Pauline J. Ford, Steve Kisely, Emma Bartle, Diann S. Eley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Dentistry students face a challenging academic and clinical curriculum that can result in depression and anxiety. While studies usually report sources of stress for dentistry students, there is less information on levels of stress. This study used the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21), to report perceived levels of depression, anxiety and stress in a cohort of Australian undergraduate dentistry students. Methods: Students enrolled in years 1-4 of the Bachelor of Dental Science (Honours) program at The University of Queensland were invited to complete the DASS-21 using an online questionnaire. Students completed the same questionnaire 1 year later. Results: At baseline, the mean DASS-21 scores for this cohort (n = 179; females = 56%) were in the normal range for depression (4.69, SD 3.87) and stress (5.50, SD 3.65), and mild range for anxiety (4.25, SD 3.21). Overall, 24% (n = 42), 44% (n = 78) and 11% (n = 20) of students had moderate or above levels of depression, anxiety and stress, respectively. At 1-year follow-up, DASS-21 scores were not significantly different. Conclusions: Dental students have higher levels of depression, anxiety or stress than the general population, indicating they may be at risk for greater psychological distress. The information from this study should guide curriculum and learning environment design, as well as interventions to support students through this challenging degree.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-514
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Dental Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


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