Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Dentistry

Copyright Statement

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of Nova Southeastern University. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.


College of Dental Medicine

First Advisor

Nydia Cummings

Second Advisor

Aryia Amini

Third Advisor

Cesar Gonzalez

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


In the medical field literature, studies allude to the importance of interpersonal relationships between the caregiver and the patient. Communication has been highlighted as a key factor that mediates the doctor to patient relationship. This study investigated the relationship between patient initiation of treatment with the patients’ perceptions of the quality of the dentist-patient communication. A cross-sectional study that solicited from patients seeking services at Nova Southeastern University Post-Graduate Dental Programs responses to a questionnaire that measured patient’s perception of the quality of communication of the attending dentist. The participants of the study were patients of the NSU Post-graduate dental clinic who completed their screening and diagnosis appointments, scheduled and were present for the treatment plan presentation appointment. The Communication Assessment Tool (CAT) was employed to measure patients’ perceptions of the quality of communication after the treatment planning visit. The initiation of treatment was defined as patient attendance to the appointment following the treatment plan presentation appointment. Seventy-two patients responded to the CAT questionnaire. According to axiUm records, 69.4% (N=50), attended the first visit post-treatment plan presentation. All survey items resulted in a statistical majority (p <.05) declaring that the communications skills measured by the instrument were either good or excellent. A Chi-Square of Association was employed to determine the association between the outcomes of the survey items and the dependent variable, patient initiation of dental treatment to select the explanatory variables that were going to be included in the initial logistic model meeting a threshold of p-value of ≤ 0.25. In order of magnitude of their association the variables that met the p-value criteria were: showed interest (Cramer’s V=.283, p=.123), talked in terms the patient could understand (Cramer’s V=.269, p=.156), greeting (Cramer’s V=.235, p=.138), and respect (Cramer’s V=.161, p=.172). The average CAT composite score was approximately 66 from a maximum possible score of 70. Despite the high level of satisfaction with the communication skills of the residents/students at the site of the study, neither the composite the CAT composite score nor singular CAT items were significant predictor of patient initiation of treatment after the treatment plan presentation.




Communication, Dentist, Initiate treatment, Patient, Skills, Treatment plan



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