This study was conducted to discover the extent dental hygiene educators in 25
entry-level dental hygiene programs from the Upper Midwest demonstrate Emotional
Resilience, Flexibility and Openness, Perceptual Acuity, and Personal Autonomy as
they relate to their level of education and multicultural experiences. An additional
purpose was to examine dental hygiene educators in regard to personal cross-cultural
experiences, formal cultural diversity education, usefulness of their education and
preparation, and confidence to meet the Commission on Dental Accreditation (2007)
Standard 2-19 which states Graduates must be competent in interpersonal and
communication skills to effectively interact with diverse population groups (p. 23).
The principal investigator mailed two questionnaires in Fall Semester 2008 to
the directors of the dental hygiene programs to administer. The researcher-developed a
22 item questionnaire collected demographic and cultural experience information on the
faculty. The second questionnaire was the Cross-Cultural Adaptability Inventory (CCAI) by Kelley and Meyers (1992) that measured four research-based dimensions of
The data analysis included descriptive and inferential statistics. Using
Cronbach’s alpha, reliability analysis of the four CCAI scales showed that some items
reduced the internal consistency of the scales. These items were removed from the
scales. The inferential statistics used oneway analyses of variance (ANOVA) with the revised CCAI scales as dependent variables. The significance level was .05 for all
inferential statistics. Statistically significant results were reported.
The respondents were overwhelmingly female, Caucasian, equally split between
having a BA or MA as the highest terminal degree, began teaching as a second career
after a significant period as a dental hygienist in clinical practice, and had taught
predominantly in a single institution. Dental hygiene educators had limited experience
in cross-cultural settings in their personal lives, limited formal multicultural education
preparation, limited personal multicultural experiences during their education, and
limited experiences teaching in multicultural settings.
The majority of the dental hygiene educators reported that their institution or
department provided continuing education and professional development programs in
cultural diversity. Overall, dental hygiene faculty who did participate in cultural
diversity education had significantly higher scores on Emotional Resilience, Flexibility
and Openness, Perceptual Acuity, and Personal Autonomy with Flexibility and
Openness having the highest scores.
This research concludes that there is a need to identify cultural diversity
education curriculum guidelines that would increase the knowledge and understanding
of minority and new immigrant populations; to develop oral health textbooks that
address the ethnic and immigrant populations’ specific health beliefs or cultural views
based on family structure, religion, and medical beliefs; and to support dental hygiene
educators’ multicultural experiences to prepare future practitioners to provide crossculturally
sensitive health care.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. February 2011. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: Regents Professor Karen Seashore. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 147 pages, appendices A-G.
Engeswick, Lynnette Marie.
Cross-cultural competency adaptability of dental hygiene educators in entry Level dental hygiene programs..
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