Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Committee Chair

Wilson, Richard W.

Author's Keywords

Standardized patients; tobacco cessation treatment education; tobacco cessation treatment; dental students; dental professional; tobacco cessation counseling


Dentist and patient; Dentistry--Practice; Smoking cessation; Nicotine addiction--Treatment


Dentists can play a key role in helping patients quit tobacco use by providing tobacco cessation treatment (TCT) in their practice. Although the majority of dentists receive training in TCT, most do not provide adequate intervention. Many feel they are not adequately trained. Using standardized patients (SPs) shows promise in TCT training by providing a simulated clinical environment for students to practice counseling skills with individuals trained to portray patients. Standardized patients evaluate students' skills and provide immediate feedback. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a difference in dental students' attitudes, perceived barriers, subjective norms, perceived skills, self-efficacy, intentions to provide TCT, and cessation knowledge between those students who receive a lecture along with practice sessions using SPs and those students who receive a lecture only. Variables were selected to coincide with the constructs of the theory of planned behavior. Freshman dental students in an introductory clinical course were invited to participate in the study by completing a pre- and post-questionnaire. The prequestionnaire was administered to all students in the course prior to a two hour tobacco cessation lecture. The intervention group of students (n = 42) completed the second questionnaire after the lecture, practice sessions with SPs and a debriefing session. The control group (n = 52) completed the second questionnaire after the lecture. The training using SPs increased dental students' perceived barriers, subjective norms, perceived skills, self-efficacy, and intentions to provide TCT (p < .05) more than lecture only; however, it did not significantly increase attitude and knowledge. Dental students' attitude, perceived barriers, subjective norms, perceived skills and knowledge significantly impacted intent to provide TCT (p < .005), while training type, tobacco status and use did not. The time between the groups receiving the lecture and practice sessions with SPs did not significantly affect the variables. The findings suggest that using SPs is a valuable educational method that increases dental students' social pressures, skills, confidence and intentions to provide TCT. The training using SPs did increase students' awareness of barriers in providing TCT. Additional research is needed to reduce barriers in providing TCT.