Degree Name

MSAH (Master of Science in Allied Health)


Allied Health

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Deborah Dotson

Committee Members

Randy Byington, Lesley Bailey, Landon Shields


The ETSU dental hygiene program is very competitive and rigorous for those admitted. Student dental hygienists may experience higher levels of anxiety and more stressors while completing their course work and clinical hours than they have previously experienced in general education and prerequisite courses. These increased number of stressors and higher levels of anxiety may have negative impacts on students’ academic performance and success in clinical learning environments. A better understanding of the actual need for a stress reduction and anxiety management curriculum will facilitate creating and implementing this type of curriculum. A total of 44 current ETSU dental hygiene students were included in the study, juniors (55%) and (45%) seniors. Nearly all respondents reported their current stress and anxiety levels are affecting their lives (97.5%). Consistently over a third of students who completed surveys from the ETSU dental hygiene program are experiencing physical symptoms of stress and anxiety including headaches, gastrointestinal distress, trouble sleeping, eating too much or too little daily, tense muscles, worry or phobias, anger or hostility, irritability or hostility, and nervousness 2-3 times a week. The average stress level of the 44 ETSU dental hygiene students reported on a 1-10 scale was a 7.65. Nearly half (40%) of all ETSU dental hygiene students currently enrolled reported their stress level as 8 out of 10 with 10 defined as “I can only think of my stress and anxiety”. Further research including an educational intervention to help teach students skills and coping mechanisms to manage and reduce stress and anxiety was recommended.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.