Dentist preferences for patients: dimensions and associations with provider, practice, and service characteristics

Provider-patient relations may influence the nature of care provided. The aim of this study was to examine dentist preferences for patients, relate these to characteristics of dentists and practices, and to services provided. A random sample of Australian dentists completed mailed questionnaires (response = 60.3%). Four factor-based subscales and an overall scale (Selectivity) were derived from a 37-item battery. The 4 subscales comprised treatment adherence (behavior relevant to the treatment situation), personal adaptability (willingness to cooperate when expected to do so), social interactiveness (positive affect, communicativeness, and appreciativeness), and enabling characteristics (willing and able to pay, and good dental knowledge). Reliability was adequate (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.71-0.90). Treatment adherence was associated with higher orthodontic rates, but a lower extraction rate; social interactiveness was associated with higher extraction and denture rates; personal adaptability was associated with higher orthodontic rates, but lower general/miscellaneous service rates; enabling characteristics was associated with higher endodontic and crown and bridge rates; selectivity was associated with higher rates of diagnostic, preventive, and total services per visit. The associations with service rates indicated that provider preferences were related to treatment behavior that could affect the mix of services, indicating that the nature of care provided may be influenced by the provider-patient relation.

Brennan DS, Spencer AJ.

Int J Behav Med 2006;13(1):69-78.

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