Introduction: This study aimed to compare the attitudes towards people with dementia, knowledge of dementia and ageism amongst Taiwanese and Japanese dental hygiene students. Material and Methods: A total of 328 students participated in this cross-sectional study. Attitudes, knowledge and ageism were assessed using self-reports. Participants’ association with older adults or persons with dementia was also assessed. Primary outcomes included attitude, knowledge and ageism amongst students. Secondary outcomes were the factors related to their desire to work with persons with dementia. Results: Data of 175 Taiwanese and 91 Japanese students were analysed. There were significantly more Japanese (69.2%) than Taiwanese (33.2%) students without experience of cohabitation with older adults. More Taiwanese (45.1%) than Japanese students (30.8%) gave a neutral answer regarding their desire to work with persons with dementia. Japanese students scored significantly higher on the attitude and ageism scales than did Taiwanese students; however, the scores of knowledge assessment were approximately the same. Attitude or ageism did not correlate with knowledge amongst students from either country. Logistic regression analysis revealed that the desire to work with persons having dementia was related to ageism and the relationship with these people, irrespective of country. Conclusion: Although the students had comparable levels of knowledge, there existed significant difference in the attitudes and the degree of ageism between students from Taiwan vs Japan. This finding may prompt improvement of education on dementia, where differences in nationality and lifestyle, including the rate of ageing and family structure, are taken into consideration.
- dental hygiene student
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