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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 424-428

Understanding “social reward”: A study on the teaching dental staff in states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Mamata Dental College, Khammam, Telangana, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Mamata Medical College, Khammam, Telangana, India
3 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Malla Reddy Institute of Dental Sciences, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
4 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Mamata Dental College, Khammam, Telangana, India

Date of Web Publication15-Dec-2016

Correspondence Address:
V Siva Kalyan
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Mamata Dental College, Khammam, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2319-5932.195843

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Introduction: Social reward is a result of human interactions that motivates and gives happiness. In this study, an attempt was made to understand various domains of the social reward of dental staff. Aim: The aim of this study was to examine the individual differences in the value of social reward among dental staff working in teaching health-care institutions. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire-based study was conducted on dental staff working in teaching health-care institutions. Demographic data were collected. The social reward was assessed using Social Reward Questionnaire on a seven-point Likert scale. The mean value of each domain was calculated and compared based on the academic experience of the staff. The significance difference was tested using one-way ANOVA. Results: A total of 290 dental staff members of a mean age of 33.4 ± 6.2 years participated in the study. Those with academic experience of <1 year had a highest mean value with regard to domains such as admiration and sociability. The staff members of >11 years of experience had the highest mean value with regard to pro-social interaction. Conclusion: Understanding the individual differences in valuing social reward is useful to organizations in promoting a better work environment, contributes for pro-social behaviors among staff, helps in sustaining the worth, and contributes for positive human interactions.

Keywords: Dental staff, interpersonal relations, reward, social adjustment, social behavior

How to cite this article:
Kalyan V S, Manjula S, Kulkarni G, Sudhakar G, Padma T M, Pratap K. Understanding “social reward”: A study on the teaching dental staff in states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2016;14:424-8

How to cite this URL:
Kalyan V S, Manjula S, Kulkarni G, Sudhakar G, Padma T M, Pratap K. Understanding “social reward”: A study on the teaching dental staff in states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 May 16];14:424-8. Available from: https://www.jiaphd.org/text.asp?2016/14/4/424/195843

  Introduction Top

Humans cannot reside without a connection. Their life is to a mammoth extent a group life, and sociability is an innate feeling of a human.[1] One of the most famous statements by Aristotle “Man is by nature a social animal” (Politika ca. 328 BC)[2] fashioned inquisitiveness in quite a lot of disciplines to substantiate the perception of Aristotle by schooling the social nature of humans into quantifiable and noticeable aspects of human biology, psychology, and behavior.[3]

The elementary characteristic of a human being is his/her social nature. We humans get motivated to bond socially, and conspecificity exists in sharing experiences.[4],[5] To perform a task which is least specific, we tend to experience it together with friends rather than doing it alone (e.g., when people go to watch a movie, they go together either with a partner or a friend).[6] Research reveals that certain social stimuli are rewarding such as viewing static images of smiling faces or being liked and they, in turn, increase activation in the striatum, part of brain's reward network.[7] On the other hand, social anhedonia is allied with depression.[8],[9]

A wide array of issues such as individual motivational inclination to change as well as economic, political, and organizational background may influence the clinical practice of health-care professionals. Nevertheless, our comprehensive ability of these issues and best possible approaches to transform health-care professional behavior is deficient. This has led to more research to better update the blueprint of interventions to alter health-care professionals' behavior.[10],[11],[12],[13]

One such concept is termed as “Social reward.” It is defined as the motivational and pleasurable aspects of our interactions with other people. It is any social interaction or stimuli that a person appears to experience as rewarding or pleasurable.[7],[14]

The entire life of every human being is maintained, fostered, advanced, and enlarged on all the aspects through the energetic support of his fellow beings,[15] and the dental professionals are not an exception as we interact with patients in our practice and with our professionals and students in academics. With this background, a study was conducted with an aim to understand the various domains of the social reward of dental staff based on their academic experience.

  Materials and Methods Top

Ethical clearance was obtained from the Institutional Ethics Research Committee. Six colleges (3 from Andhra Pradesh and 3 from Telangana) were selected randomly. All the teaching staff members working in these six colleges were invited to participate after taking permission from the head of the institution of selected colleges.

The questionnaire consisted of two parts (Part A and Part B). Part A consists of questions related to demographic data such as age, gender, and academic experience. Part B consisted of Social Reward Questionnaire (SRQ) developed by Foulkes et al.[7] Permission was sought from the developers to use the questionnaire. SRQ consists of six domains [Table 1][14] with a total of 23 questions. The domain of sexual relationship was removed after assessing the content validity by a panel of experts due to cultural differences in an Indian scenario and the final SRQ consisted of five domains with 20 questions. A pilot study was conducted, and the split-half reliability (0.8105) was found to be good.
Table 1: Detail of Social Reward Questionnaire subscales

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Following the elucidation of the study details and promising confidentiality, those staff members willing to participate and gave verbal consent were included in the study. All the participants were asked to rate each question starting with the words “I Enjoy” on a seven – point Likert scale (1 = strongly agree to 7 = strongly disagree) regarding their interactions with family members, friends, and the people they have met. The questionnaires were distributed and collected after completion before the closing hours of college.

Descriptive statistics were calculated. The mean and standard deviation from each domain were calculated separately, and the significance difference was tested using one-way ANOVA considering a P < 0.05 as statistically significant.

  Results Top

Demographic data

Two hundred and ninety staff members participated in the study, of which 164 were male. The mean age of the staff members was 33.4 ± 6.2 years and majority (55.17%) of them belonged to 31–40 years of age group. The mean academic experience of the staff members was 5.21 ± 5.2 years [Table 2].
Table 2: Demographic data

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Comparison of each domain of Social Reward Questionnaire with academic experience

The staff members of <1 year of experience had the highest mean value with regard to admiration (22.88 ± 3.2). Negative Social Potency and Passivity had the highest mean value among the members with 6–10 years of experience, which was statistically significant (P = 0.006 and P ≤ 0.001). The mean value of pro-social interaction was found to be highest in staff members of >11 years of experience. Sociability domain had the highest mean value with regard to staff members of <1 year of academic experience, which was statistically significant (P = 0.005) [Table 3].
Table 3: Domains of Social Reward Questionnaire and academic experience

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  Discussion Top

This is the first study of its kind conducted on dental professionals. The social reward was assessed based on five subscales. By knowing how the individual members worth, different social rewards will be helpful in assessing their social behavior.[7] For the better comprehension, each subscale is discussed separately based on the academic experience of the staff members.


The mean value of admiration was found to be the highest among the staff members of < 1 year of academic experience. This could be because the staff might have felt that appreciation is more rewarding, as being respected, receiving eulogize and support and positive feedback are a part of the professionals' rewards and identities.[16] These staff members have recently joined the institution and might have felt that earning recognition of their work is more motivating than anything else as research revealed that appreciation for work is inspiring rather than the pecuniary rewards.[17]

Research also states that people joining academics rarely consider monetary compensation as their primary motivation as salaries are generally low when compared to similarly educated professionals working outside of higher education.[18] It was noticed that skills, achievements, and talents of individuals are the basis of any organizational success, and the optimistic emotion of admiration can enhance person's enthusiasm to prove and develop one's skills and increase dedication toward their organization.[19] The dental field is no exception with regard to the above-mentioned statement.

Negative social potency

The staff members of 6–10 years of experience exhibited the highest mean value. The literature mentions that dentists experience stress in their work due to various factors such as dealing with other people that caused emotional strain of situations where they were troubled, heavy workload, and lack of positive feedback.[20] This has led to “Burnout,” a psychological condition, in which Emotional Exhaustion and Depersonalization are a part where a person is emotionally exhausted and develops a negative and cynical attitude toward coworkers [21] which might be one of the reasons for this finding in our study.

It was also cited that faculty members who hold position for 10 years or more experience greater stress and are dissatisfied compared to other faculty members.[22] Lack of time to conduct research and to prepare for a presentation or write a paper for publication along with difficulty in balancing family and work was the reason for dissatisfaction.[18] These reasons might have contributed to the high mean value with regard to staff with 6–10 years of experience in the present study.

The past negative experiences of the staff members of their career and attitude to establish their identity in the institution might be the other reasons. Negative Social Potency is a complex phenomenon to explain, and we cannot conclude the exact reasons behind which demands further research.


The mean value of this domain was found to be the highest among the staff members of 6–10 years of experience. Due to a hierarchical system of administration in the present educational system, where the decision-making is not in their hands might have contributed to passivity nature among these staffs in the present study. The Dental Faculty Work Environment Survey reported that the tenured associate professors were discontent due to the sense of “being jammed” in their vocation.[18] Participants in a Tehran study [23] reported that administration did not think of consulting staff in making decisions and four in five faculties were dissatisfied with the level of autonomy in their jobs.

The above-mentioned reasons might explain to some extent why staff exhibited passivity in our study as displeased workers might develop withdrawal symptoms and their input to the organization will be trivial.[24] Further research is required on this aspect.

Pro-social interactions

The mean value of this domain found to be the highest among the staff members of >11 years of academic experience. This could be probably explained based on social exchange theory of late 1950's which states that social actions of an individual are determined by a purpose to boost one's social stand.[25] It was noticed that career satisfaction is associated with interpersonal relationships and interactions with colleagues and students.[23]

The other reason could be that as these staff members might have well established in their profession, their personal fulfillment is derived from philanthropic actions such as helping others and contributing to better the lives of their patients according to the code of ethics and ideal care that regulate their rapport with their clients.[26]


The mean value found to be the highest among the staff members of <1 year of academic experience. As societal beings, we have learned to share our experiences with peers. By doing so, one modifies their subjective perception of these experiences in a productive manner [6] that might help excel in their personal and professional life. As these staff members, with less than a year of academic experience, are in their initial phase of their career, they might exhibit enthusiasm, vigor, and curiosity; enjoy interacting with their colleagues or seniors as the domain itself explains “I Enjoy Group Interactions.” This could be one of the reasons for the highest mean value, and other probable reasons are to be investigated.


The research sample restricted to dental staff hence cannot be generalized to other health professionals. The voluntary participation of the dental staff might have skewed the results. The use of self-reported instrument could have led to biased responding.

Future research and recommendations

Further research should be directed to understand the concept of social reward and explore the topic in depth. As the academic lifestyles are amalgamation of aspects such as teaching, conducting research, and engage colleagues with similar concern,[18] a supportive environment is crucial which helps the staff to utilize their potential in total. The institutional and departmental heads should play a pivotal role in creating a culture of clearness and openness [27] as these staff members are a great human resource.

  Conclusion Top

The findings of the present study indicated that the staff members of more academic experience have greater reciprocal relationships. The individuals in their mid-term career tend to be passive in their profession. The staff with less experience enjoys group interactions and being appreciated.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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