Factor analysis of risk perceptions of using digital and social media in dental education and profession

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Purpose: This study explored how dental students and dental professionals perceive risks of using digital and social media (DSM) in a dental professional context and validated a questionnaire to measure DSM perceived risks specifically among dental students and dental professionals. Methods: A cross-sectional survey study was carried out amongst dental students (undergraduate and postgraduate) and dental professionals at a dental school in the UK. Data were collected using a 38-item questionnaire developed using interviews, experts’ evaluation, and previous perceived risks studies of internet services and social media. Risk factors were identified using exploratory factor analysis (EFA). The internal consistency of the extracted factors was determined by Cronbach's α-coefficient reliability test. Results: A total of 301 dental students and dental professionals completed the questionnaire. EFA identified eight factors perceived by dental students and professionals as critical to their DSM use. Some identified perceived risks were associated with all DSM users in the general context (e.g., personal privacy, and negative impact on self-image), but others were specific to the dental professional context (e.g., breaches of patients’ confidentiality, public deception, and reputational damage). The identified factors explained 63.55% of the variance with eigenvalues >1. Cronbach's alpha for the total questionnaire was 0.9. Conclusions: This study data has deepened the understanding of perceived risks that influence dental students and professionals’ DSM use. This will help develop education, training, and guidance to mitigate and manage the risks associated with DSM use in the dental professional context.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dental Education
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2022


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