Journal of Dental Hygiene
Purpose: Color-blind racial attitudes and biases have been linked to racial prejudice which may potentially affect dental hygiene care to diverse patients. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine the color-blind racial attitudes of dental hygiene students.
Methods: A 20-item, Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS) electronic survey was sent to a convenience sample of 41 first-year and 30 second-year dental hygiene students (n=71) in a dental hygiene program in Virginia. The CoBRAS instrument measures contemporary racial attitudes and stereotyping in three subcategories: Unawareness of Racial Privilege, Institutional Discrimination, and Blatant Racial Issues. CoBRAS scores range from 20-120, with higher scores indicating elevated levels of denial of racism. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data.
Results: Of the 71 students invited to participate, 70 completed the survey (n=70) for a 98.6% response rate. The majority of respondents were White females (70%, 98% respectively), aged 18-29 (90%). Results indicated an overall average CoBRAS score of 64.89. No statistically significant findings were identified between the two groups in regards to overall scores (p>0.05).
Conclusion: A majority of the participants in this pilot study possessed moderate levels of color-blind racial attitudes, suggesting rejection of the concept of racism. Color-blind racial attitudes and biases have been linked to a lack of awareness of White privilege. Further education in this area may foster improved interactions with diverse patient populations.
Original Publication Citation
Ludwig, E. A., Suedbeck, J. R., & Tolle, S. L. (2019). Color-blind racial attitudes in dental hygiene students: A pilot study. Journal of Dental Hygiene, 93(5), 15-22.
Ludwig, Emily A.; Suedbeck, Jessica R.; and Tolle, Susan L., "Color-Blind Racial Attitudes in Dental Hygiene Students: A Pilot Study" (2019). Dental Hygiene Faculty Publications. 43.