Impact of stress on dentists' clinical performance. A systematic review.
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INTRODUCTION: Dentistry is recognised as a stressful profession and dentists perceive their profession to be more stressful than other healthcare professions. While earlier studies have shown a link between stress and well-being among dentists, whether stress negatively impacts their clinical performance is an important and open question. We do know, however, that stress is associated with reduced performance in other health (and non-health) related professions. OBJECTIVES: This systematic review aimed to answer the question: how does stress impact on dentists' clinical performance? METHODS: This systematic review was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42016045756). The CINHAL, Embase, Medline, PsycINFO, EThOS and OpenGrey electronic databases were searched according to PRISMA guidelines. Two reviewers independently screened the citations for relevance. The citation list of potentially eligible papers was also searched. Prospective empirical studies were considered for inclusion. The inclusion criteria were applied at the full-text stage by the two same reviewers independently. RESULTS: The search yielded 3535 titles and abstracts. Twelve publications were considered potentially eligible, eleven of which were excluded as they did not meet the predefined inclusion criteria. CONCLUSIONS: This systematic review identified a gap in the literature as it found no empirical evidence quantifying the impact of stress on dentists' clinical performance. Prospective well-designed experimental simulation studies, comparing stress with non-stress situations on clinical performance and decision making, as well studies evaluating prospectively real-life dentists' performance under stress are warranted.
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