Send to

Choose Destination
Behav Res Ther. 1991;29(1):51-60.

Manifestations, acquisition and diagnostic categories of dental fear in a self-referred population.

Author information

Royal Dental College, Department of Child Dental Health and Community Dentistry, Dental Phobia Research and Treatment Center, Aarhus, Denmark.


This study aimed to clarify how manifestations and acquisition relate to diagnostic categories of dental fear in a population of self-referred dental fear patients, since diagnostic criteria specifically related to dental fear have not been validated. DSM III-R diagnostic criteria for phobias were used to compare with four existing dental fear diagnostic categories, referred to as the Seattle system. Subjects were 208 persons with dental fear who were telephone interviewed, of whom a subsample of 155 responded to a mailed Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and a modified FSS-II Geer Fear Scale (GFS). Personal interviews and a Dental Beliefs Scale of perceived trust and social interaction with dentists were also used to evaluate a subsample of 80 patients selected by sex and high dental fear. Results showed that the majority of the 80 patients (66%), suffered from social embarrassment about their dental fear problem and their inability to do something about it. The largest cause of their fear (84%) was reported to be traumatic dental experiences, especially in childhood (70%). A minority of patients (16%) could not isolate traumatic experiences and had a history of general fearfulness or anxiety. Analysis of GFS data for the 155 subjects showed that fear of snakes and injuries were highest among women; heights and injections among men. Fear of blood was rarely reported. Spearman correlations between GFS individual items and DAS scores indicated functional independence between dental fear and common fears such as blood, injections and enclosures in most cases. Only in specific types of dental fear did these results support Rachman and Lopatka's contention that fears are thought to summate.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center