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The role of cognitions in short-term temporal changes in dental fear among Australian adults.

Authors
  • Armfield, Jason M1
  • Crego, Antonio2
  • Schuch, Helena S1
  • Luzzi, Liana1
  • 1 Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, School of Dentistry, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 2 Department of Psychology, Madrid Open University, Collado-Villalba, Spain. , (Spain)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Public Health Dentistry
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2018
Volume
78
Issue
1
Pages
32–40
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/jphd.12232
PMID: 28771737
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

To determine if temporal changes in dental fear over a 4-month period are predicted by changed cognitive vulnerability-related perceptions of going to the dentist. Australian adults (n = 484) completed mailed questionnaires at baseline and follow-up, containing measures of dental fear, cognitive vulnerability-related perceptions, dental services received, and possible aversive experiences during the study period. Change in dental fear was the main outcome measure, categorized as decreased (Fear- ), unchanged (Fear0 ), and increased (Fear+ ). Across the study period, 15.5 percent of people had Fear- , 73.4 percent had Fear0 , and 11.1 percent had Fear+ . In a multinomial logistic regression, after controlling for participant gender, income, time since last dental visit at baseline, dental fear at baseline and experiencing an aversive event, increased vulnerability-related perceptions were significantly associated with Fear+ (OR = 2.83, P < 0.001) while decreased vulnerability-related perceptions were associated with Fear- (OR = 0.17, P < 0.001). This study found, across a relatively short 4-month period, that increased vulnerability-related perceptions of visiting the dentist predicted increased dental fear while decreased vulnerability-related perceptions predicted decreased dental fear. More appropriate study designs, such as longitudinal designs, and longer follow-up periods are needed to determine the possible causal nature of these associations. © 2017 American Association of Public Health Dentistry.

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