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Date of Award



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Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene


Purpose: This study was designed to identify the possible stressors among second year associate level dental hygiene students, and to investigate the impact of stress on students’ academic performance. Methods: The data was collected via an online survey that was composed of three sections: (1) demographic information such as age, gender, marital status, children and employment; (2) levels of stress, which was collected from Gadzella’s Student-life Stress Inventory (1991) using the five-point Likert scale; and (3) self-reported GPAs. By examining students’ current cumulative GPAs in the dental hygiene program, the relationship between the total score derived from Gadzella’s Student-life Stress Inventory (1991) survey (stress survey) and academic performance in dental hygiene students was explored. Results: This explanatory correlational study used Student-life Stress Inventory to explore the level of stress and academic performance in 39 second year associate level dental hygiene students. High levels of stress were found among second year dental hygiene students and both level of stressors (p<.001, R2=.44) and level of reactions to stressors (p=.0041, R2=.20) were significant predictors of academic performance. Other demographic characteristics such as age, marital status, children, and employment indicated no statistical significant in level of stress and academic performance, except the statistical significance between married and single students indicating married students reported statistically significant lower level of stress than singles (p=.03). Conclusion: Future studies in larger and more diverse sample groups are needed to explore in further details and support the current findings, as well as to explore some hidden subcategories such as gender and race that were not detected due to limited sample size.