J Dent Hyg Sci.  2018 Aug;18(4):241-251. 10.17135/jdhs.2018.18.4.241.

A Qualitative Research on Role Conflict Experiences of Clinical Dental Hygienists

  • 1Department of Dental Hygiene, The Graduate School of Namseoul University, Cheonan 31020, Korea.
  • 2Department of Dental Hygiene, Namseoul University, Cheonan 31020, Korea. dittochun4@hanmail.net


This study was based on the experience of dental hygienists' role conflict, and attempted to grasp the nature of the dental hygienist role conflict factor, constituent factor and coping. Giorgi's phenomenological method was used to analyze data collected through in-depth interviews with nine dental hygienists working in a dental clinic. The analysis revealed three central meanings: task scope, role conflicts, and role conflict management style and limitations. In the first category, task scope, the range of the legal scope, and the duties performed by the dental hygienist differed slightly. The second category included role conflict due to interpersonal relationship, work, work environment, competence, and identity as a professional because of role conflict. The third category included the role conflict management style and limitations. Dental hygienists tried to solve the role conflict situation through various efforts. In the face of the reality that the conflict is not solved despite such efforts, the dental hygienists felt the limitation and chose to leave. Dental hygienists are dissatisfied with their roles because of confusion regarding professional values and lack of awareness of the professional workforce due to differences between legal scope and actual practice. Based on the results of this study, it is necessary to develop a tool to quantitatively measure the level of role conflict in dental hygienists and to conduct follow-up studies on the effects of coping strategies by role conflict situations.


Conflict; Dental hygienists; Qualitative research; Role
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