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Assessment of patients with direct conditioned and indirect cognitive reported origin of dental fear.

Journal article
Authors Ulf Berggren
Sven G. Carlsson
Catharina Hägglin
Magnus Hakeberg
Viktor Samsonowitz
Published in European journal of oral sciences
Volume 105
Issue 3
Pages 213-20
ISSN 0909-8836
Publication year 1997
Published at Institute of Odontology
Department of Psychology
Pages 213-20
Language en
Keywords Adult, Affect, physiology, Analysis of Variance, Arousal, physiology, Attitude to Health, Cognition, physiology, Conditioning (Psychology), physiology, Dental Anxiety, etiology, psychology, Depression, psychology, Emotions, physiology, Family, Fear, physiology, Female, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Sex Factors, Time Factors, Wounds and Injuries, psychology
Subject categories Psychology


This study investigated the reported conditioned or cognitive origin of dental phobia in 100 adult patients at a specialized dental phobia clinic. It was shown that a majority of patients reported a conditioned background to their dental fear. Patients' avoidance time and level of dental anxiety corresponded to previously reported data for fearful groups. Individuals with an arousal conditioning etiology of dental fear reported significantly longer avoidance time as compared to individuals with a cognitively learned reaction. With the exception of an elevated level of general fears, most psychometrically assessed emotional reactions were well within normal ranges. However, patients with a non-conditioned, cognitive etiology reported significantly higher levels of trait anxiety and fear of embarrassment. In addition, a separate analysis among women revealed a greater fear of physical injuries among patients with cognitive etiology.

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