Background: The emergence of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) and its consequences that have led to fears, worries, and anxiety among individuals worldwide. The present study is an attempt to design and develop the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S) to understand and complement the clinical efforts of practising dentists in the frontline, in preventing the spread and treating of COVID-19 cases with emergency dental problems. While doing so, Hans Selye’s theory of stress model, General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) is used to demonstrate the stages of response among the practising dentists as the point of departure.
Aim: This paper examines the effects of COVID-19 outbreak on practising dentists in terms of their mental health, specifically psychological stress and anxiety using FCV-19S on a nine-item one-dimensional scale with robust psychometric properties that measured anxiety and fear aspects.
Methods: This paper is the result of the analysis of data gathered using online purposive and convenient sampling survey-based study among practising dentists (n=126) using Google forms from 25th March 2020 to 25th May 2020. The items of the FCV-19S were constructed based on an extensive review of existing scales on fears, professional validations and a pilot study. Various psychometric tests were conducted to ascertain its reliability and validity properties. Also, other properties evaluated using both classical test theory and Rasch model were satisfactory on the nine-item scale.
Results: Despite having a high standard of knowledge and practice, dental practitioners around the country are in a state of stress and fear while working in their respective clinics due to the COVID-19 pandemic effects on humanity. However, there was no significant difference between the gender of practising dentists about their apprehension of personal safety from COVID-19. But it was noted that there was a significant difference between the gender of practising dentists regarding their confidence level to live with COVID-19 and their performance as the ‘p’-value was. 046. (Table-4) and. 001 (Table-5) respectively.
Conclusion: The analysis of the data demonstrated a significant difference between male and female gender among the practising dentists regarding the stress level due to COVID-19, which is a matter for concern, as the Hippocratic Oath does not permit such gender discrimination in ethical standards. The FCV-19S, a nine-item scale, has robust psychometric properties. It is reliable and valid in assessing fear of COVID-19 among the practising dentists and will also be useful in allaying COVID-19 fears among individuals with dental problems.