Positive engagement and job resources in dental practice

Author(s): Gorter RC, Te Brake HJ, Hoogstraten J, Eijkman MA


Objectives: The aim of this study is to determine the level of engagement among dentists, and subsequently, to investigate which dental job resources are positively correlated with engagement.

Methods: By stratifying on gender, age, and region, a representative sample of 848 general dental practitioners was drawn at random, plus an extra group of 95 female dentists for gender comparison purposes. Engagement was assessed using the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES), consisting of three subscales: Vigor, Dedication; and Absorption. Job resources were measured using the Dentists' Experienced Job Resources Scale (DEJRS).

Results: Six hundred and thirty two dentists (67%) responded, 76% male and 25% female. Mean age: 44.6 years (SD = 9.0). Engagement: Dedication and Absorption mean scores were higher among dentists when compared with manual norm scores, based upon a variety of professions, whereas Vigor mean scores were comparable to manual norm scores. Job resources:'Immediate results / Aesthetics' and '(Long term) Patient results' showed highest mean scores among all dentists. Gender differences were found on '(Long term) Patient results' and 'Patient care'. Engagement and job resources: All DEJRS subscales and the full scale showed statistically significant positive correlations (pmcc) with the UWES subscales.

Conclusion: Dentists showed relatively high mean scores on an engagement measure when compared with manual norm scores. No gender differences in mean scores were found. Job resources most valued were 'Immediate results / Aesthetics'. The job resources, 'Idealism/Pride' and 'Patient care', showed most predictive value with regard to engagement among dentists. In order to prevent burnout, it is recommended to raise dentists' awareness of the importance to create sufficient time and space for stimulating aspects in their work.

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