Specific form of ageism in dental care: Convergent validity of the Ageism Scale for Dental Students (ASDS) and its implications for education


Background and Aims: The World Health Organization considers ageism as an important barrier to age-appropriate care for older adults. An Ageism Scale for Dental Students (ASDS) has been validated in the United States, Brazil, Greece, Romania and in France. At present, the convergent validity of ASDS has never been evaluated. Moreover, a specialized and disciplinary tool as the ASDS may not overlap with more general ageism assessment which may highlight the need for specific courses during the education of the future health professionals.   Method: All the undergraduate students of the last three years of study at the dental school of Clermont-Ferrand were invited to complete both scales. 216 students were randomly divided into two equal groups. The first group answered first Ageing Semantic Differential- ASD then ASDS, the second in reverse order. The convergent validity between ASDS and ASD was assessed by computing a Pearson correlation coefficient and discriminant analysis between each component of the two scales. Results: The response rate was of 53.7%. The correlation analysis conducted on the total scores of the ASDS and of the ASD shows a significant, yet weak relationship. The discriminant analysis indicates that only the first component of the ASDS is significantly associated with each dimension of the ASD, whereas the second component is totally independent from the ASD and the third component almost independent from the ASD, except for the integrity dimension. Conclusions: This specialized questionnaire may assess a form of ageism that is not captured at all in more general scales. Such a scale may help to identify the different dimensions of ageism among dental students which is required to reduce ageism in medical care. This reduction should pass by adapted courses in gerodontology.

European Journal of Dental Education