Evaluating the self-perceived confidence of students in their abilities to provide orthodontic services is crucial to measuring the effectiveness of the orthodontic curriculum.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between general self-efficacy (GSE) in dental students and self-perceived confidence in performing orthodontic clinical skills.
A total of 100 dental students in their final-year at Shiraz University of Medical Sciences participated in the study in February 2017. They responded to a multiple-choice questionnaire consisting of two parts. The first part evaluated the students’ self-perceived confidence in performing orthodontic clinical skills and the second part evaluated the students’ GSE. The correlation between the two parameters was evaluated using the Spearman correlation test with an alpha level set at 0.05.
More than 20% of the students reported being “not yet confident” in 8 out of the 18 skills evaluated. There was a medium correlation between the students’ confidence in performing clinical skills and their GSE. There was no correlation between the students’ grades in theoretical courses and their GSE scores (P > 0.05). The students’ confidence in all aspects of clinical skills, however, was correlated with their grades.
The students’ self-perceived confidence in performing orthodontic clinical skills is moderately correlated with their GSE; other factors such as exposure to orthodontic cases, and teaching methods seem to play a more influential part in their confidence.