Student attitudes to dentistry in South African dental schools.
The present study investigated student motives for choosing dentistry in five South African dental schools. An attitude questionnaire was complied and administered to all entering students at these schools. The study population comprised 161 students, 92 males and 69 females. Results indicate that in spite of the changing student populations at all universities, the motives for studying dentistry remain essentially the same. Similarities in attitudes to dentistry tend to outweigh differences. Similarities are shown with respect to service, the need for status, independence and financial security. Differences are reflected in the contradictions between service and status, service and regular working hours, service and financial security. The question these findings raise, is how and to what extent students selected for training, based on their current motivation and attitudes will best adapt to changes in the practice of dentistry, health policies, and increased population demands.