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Self‐confidence as a predictor of senior dental student academic success

Abstract Purpose Noncognitive indicators, such as personality type and self-confidence, have been used as predictors of achievement. Accordingly, we investigated whether self-confidence in clinical skills predicts academic success among predoctoral senior dental students. Methods Two consecutive cohorts (N = 336) of predoctoral senior dental students were invited to rate their self-confidence in clinical procedures twice: at the beginning and at the end of the academic year. Academic performance in clinical assessments was retrieved from scholastic records. Multiple linear regression models were constructed to predict clinical assessment grades using self-confidence scores as a predictor after controlling for possible confounders. Results Self-confidence scores in clinical procedures were positively correlated with clinical and academic performance. Self-confidence in clinical procedures and grade point averages were consistent predictors of student performance. Additionally, self-confidence had improved at the end of the senior year (p = 0.003). Conclusions Self-confidence in clinical procedures was a predictor of future clinical success. Therefore, fostering and nurturing the confidence of students and integrating self-confidence assessment into the curricula at relevant timepoints should be a goal in dental education. Moreover, self-assessment of confidence in clinical skills could be used to guide students and graduates in developing their own personal development plan.

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