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General fearfulness, attitudes to dental care, and dental anxiety in adolescents.

Journal article
Authors Agneta Stenebrand
Ulla Wide Boman
Magnus Hakeberg
Published in European journal of oral sciences
Volume 121
Issue 3 Pt 2
Pages 252-7
ISSN 1600-0722
Publication year 2013
Published at Institute of Odontology
Pages 252-7
Language en
Subject categories Odontological behavioural science, Psychology


The etiology of dental anxiety (DA) may involve a spectrum of factors related to past dental experiences, general and specific fears, and other personality factors, but is relatively unexplored in adolescents. The aim of this study was to examine how general fearfulness and attitudes to dental care/personnel were related to DA in 15-yr-old subjects. The sample included 263 randomly selected 15-yr-old adolescents living in the municipality of Jönköping in southern Sweden. Four questionnaires were used: one general questionnaire regarding background data and three psychometric instruments dealing with DA, general fearfulness, and dental beliefs. Of all participants, 6.5% were classified as having DA. Dental anxiety was moderately to strongly correlated both with attitudes to dental care/personnel and with general fearfulness and indicated the strongest impact for individuals with both high general fearfulness and high dental beliefs in relation to DA. The linear multiple regression analysis showed that the best predictors of DA were general fearfulness and dental beliefs. This suggests that both individual vulnerability in terms of generalized fear and apprehensions about dental staff, which is linked to experiences of dentistry, appear to be important factors for DA and may be considered as risk factors for DA in adolescents.

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