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Heritability of dental fear.

Journal article
Authors Jeremy Ray
Ulla Wide Boman
L Bodin
Ulf Berggren
P Lichtenstein
Anders G Broberg
Published in Journal of dental research
Volume 89
Issue 3
Pages 297-301
ISSN 1544-0591
Publication year 2010
Published at Institute of Odontology
Department of Psychology
Pages 297-301
Language en
Keywords Adolescent, Age Factors, Child, Dental Anxiety, genetics, Diseases in Twins, genetics, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Humans, Male, Sex Factors, Twins, Dizygotic, genetics, Twins, Monozygotic, genetics
Subject categories Odontological behavioural science


The objective was to test a hypothesized genetic component (i.e., monozygotic being more similar compared with dizygotic twins) in dental fear/anxiety by comparing the probandwise concordance. We analyzed data based on a dichotomous measure of Dental Fear/Anxiety and a continuous measure of Dental Fear Intensity from over 2000 twins, collected when participants were 13-14 years old and once again three years later. The hypothesis was confirmed, but heritability of Dental Fear/Anxiety was estimated to be higher for girls (0.77 at time 1 and 0.55 at time 2) than for boys (0.14 and 0.0 at times 1 and 2, respectively). Heritability of Dental Fear Intensity, however, was similar for girls (0.30 and 0.40 at times 1 and 2, respectively) and boys (0.47, 0.44). Studies of the etiology of dental fear/anxiety should take genetic vulnerability into account and include molecular biology measures. Possible heritability differences between girls and boys need attention.

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