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Assessment of patients with phobic dental anxiety.

Journal article
Authors Ulf Berggren
Sven G. Carlsson
Magnus Hakeberg
Catharina Hägglin
Viktor Samsonowitz
Published in Acta odontologica Scandinavica
Volume 55
Issue 4
Pages 217-22
ISSN 0001-6357
Publication year 1997
Published at Institute of Odontology
Department of Psychology
Pages 217-22
Language en
Keywords Adult, Analysis of Variance, Attitude to Health, Chi-Square Distribution, Dental Anxiety, psychology, Dental Care, psychology, Dentist-Patient Relations, Depression, psychology, Female, Hostility, Humans, Interview, Psychological, Male, Marital Status, Medical History Taking, Mental Disorders, diagnosis, Psychological Tests, Psychophysiologic Disorders, diagnosis, Questionnaires, Stress, Psychological, diagnosis
Subject categories Psychology


This study investigated a screening procedure for psychologic distress in adult patients with dental phobia before treatment of dental fear. The screening procedure was performed among 191 individuals in consecutive steps and included a medical/dental history, psychologic interviewing, and testing. Data collected during this process were analyzed and compared with SCL-90(R) data. The screening process was successful in selecting individuals without major psychologic distress problems. Among the excluded patients 91% had general symptoms scores on the SCL-90(R) exceeding a normative population mean, and 95% of included patients had a mean lower than an average for psychiatric outpatients. There were statistically significant differences between included and excluded patients on all subdimensions of the SCL-90. Thus, excluded patients had higher levels of psychologic distress, poorer psychosocial background, and more psychosomatic symptoms. This was accompanied by higher levels of negative attitudes toward dentists and their performance of dentistry, whereas no significant differences were found among the dental fear measures used.

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