Identifying dentists' attitudes towards prevention guidance using Q-sort methodology.
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OBJECTIVE: To gain insight into the attitudes and motivating factors of dentists working in the English National Health Service (NHS) towards prevention guidance. DESIGN: Q-methodology: an established hybrid quantitative/qualitative technique used in the social sciences to categorise subjects based on their views by considering factors as part of their overall decision-making profile. SETTING: General Dental Practices offering care under an NHS contract. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: NHS dentists (n = 26) placed 36 statements about prevention guidance derived from an earlier study into a distribution grid that ranked the statements from "most agree" to "most disagree". Principal components factor analysis was applied to determine the principal patterns in the rankings of statements. RESULTS: Analysis indicated a total of six distinct profiles within the responses, of which three profiles had at least six dentists loading onto them. The first profile was strongly characterised by dentists who appear motivated to provide prevention but financial and time constraints prevent them from doing so. The second was characterised by dentists using prevention guidance but restricting its use to only certain patients. The third was characterised by dentists who appeared "health-focused". They placed importance on working to prevention guidance, but were keen to have greater patient and professional support in achieving this. CONCLUSION: In this group of dentists Q-methodology identified three main profiles to the delivery of prevention guidance.
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