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Dental anxiety and temperament in 15-year olds.

Journal article
Authors Agneta Stenebrand
Ulla Wide Boman
Magnus Hakeberg
Published in Acta odontologica Scandinavica
Volume 71
Issue 1
Pages 15-21
ISSN 1502-3850
Publication year 2013
Published at Institute of Odontology
Pages 15-21
Language en
Subject categories Odontological behavioural science


Abstract Objective. The aim of the present study was to analyze the prevalence of dental anxiety and its association with temperament, sociodemographic factors and previous painful and unpleasant experiences of dental care among 15-year old individuals. Materials and methods. The sample included 263 randomly selected 15-year old individuals living in the municipality of Jönköping, Sweden. The school, parental and adolescent consent was acquired. Three self-reported questionnaires were used, one included items of sociodemography, while the others dealt with dental anxiety assessed by the Dental Fear Survey (DFS) and temperament assessed by an adapted version of The EAS Temperament Survey for Children modified for adults, the EASI temperament survey. Results. The results showed that 6.5% of the adolescents were classified as dentally anxious and with girls proportionally more fearful than boys. The three temperaments activity, impulsivity and emotionality were significantly correlated with dental anxiety. A hierarchical multiple linear regression analysis showed that pain at the last dental appointment or previous pain experiences during dental care treatment were the strongest predictors regarding dental anxiety in 15-year olds. The temperament dimensions activity and impulsivity were also significantly predictive of dental anxiety. Conclusions. Although some of the temperament dimensions are correlated with dental anxiety, which may emphasize an important finding with regard to personality, this study showed that previous pain experiences during dental care treatment is a strong predictor for high dental anxiety in 15-year olds.

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