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Date of Award

Spring 2021


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Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene


Purpose: Current literature reveals students feel a negative attitude and lack confidence in applying statistics. The objective of this study was to investigate undergraduate dental hygiene students’ attitudes and perceptions toward statistics.

Methods: A single survey, including the SATS-28, demographic, and qualitative questions, was posted on dental hygiene Facebook pages. The survey was posted to gather data to determine attitudes and perceptions of junior and senior students toward statistics. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-tests, and thematic coding.

Results: Of 136 students (N = 136) responding students, 109 (n = 109) fully completed the survey. SATS-28 descriptive statistics revealed overall neutral attitude in most subscales. No statistical significance (p = 0.68; 0.98; 0.93) was found in confidence levels among students with statistics exposure in high school; however, students with a prerequisite statistics class showed statistical significance (p = 0.05) when assessing confidence in applying statistics in patient care. A review of qualitative responses about attitudes and perceptions found the majority of seniors (64%; n = 32) felt they would use statistics “sometimes” during the remainder of their program compared to just under one third of juniors (29%; n = 17) who said they would use it “often”. Overall, 43% of seniors (n = 25) reported being excited about using statistics compared to 35% of juniors (n = 13).

Conclusion: Neutral and adverse attitudes found in this study toward statistics indicate educators are tasked with creating a positive educational setting to foster confidence in the comprehension and application of statistics.