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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 168-175

Assessment of challenges faced by dental interns and their psychological health during the COVID-19 pandemic in South Indian State of Kerala

1 Department of Periodontics, Government Dental College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Government Dental College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Thayyil Sivaraman Hrishi
Department of Periodontology, Government Dental College, Kozhikode - 673 008, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jdrr.jdrr_54_21

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Context: The dental universities were shut or partially operating amidst the lockdown imposed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Dental interns because of reduced opportunities for clinical training and recruitment for COVID-19 containment activities can be faced with many challenges. Aims: To assess the various challenges faced by the dental interns during the COVID-19 pandemic and to evaluate their psychological health. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using an online questionnaire among dental interns of ten randomly selected dental colleges in Kerala. The questionnaire comprised of questions about demographic information, questions to assess various challenges the interns faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a Patient Health Questionnaire-4 tool to screen for anxiety and depression. Statistical Analysis Used: The data were analyzed using SPSS 21 software; descriptive statistics were used to describe the demographic characteristics and challenges faced by interns. The Chi-square test was used to analyze the association of psychological health with different parameters. Results: A total of 283 interns, 154 (54.4%) from private colleges and 129 (45.6%) from government colleges completed the questionnaire. About 86% of the interns opined that they did not receive the expected clinical training and 71.7% of interns were not confident to practice with the training they received. Almost 58% of the respondents were frontline workers in managing the pandemic with a majority of them being from government colleges. A high prevalence of psychological distress (73.1%), depression (36%), and anxiety (28%) was observed among interns. The lack of adequate training influenced the psychological health of interns significantly. Conclusions: The dental interns did not receive adequate clinical training during the pandemic; this had severely affected their confidence to practice and mental health. Measures should be implemented by institutions and governing bodies to address these problems immediately.

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