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Eur J Oral Sci. 2012 Jun;120(3):224-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0722.2012.00953.x. Epub 2012 Apr 7.

Difficulties in emotional regulation: association with poorer oral health-related quality of life in the general population.

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1
School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland. aino.mattila@uta.fi

Abstract

Personality is one of the strongest predictors of subjective well-being and may, according to a few previous studies, affect how people report oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL). Alexithymia, a personality trait involving difficulties in emotional regulation, is associated with poorer health-related quality of life in the general population. We studied if alexithymia is also associated with poorer OHRQoL in a general population sample of 4,460 adults. Oral health-related quality of life was measured using the 14-item Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14) and alexithymia was measured using the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). Controlling for clinically assessed dental health, depression, anxiety, and socio-demographic variables, higher scores on the TAS-20 as well as on its three dimensions [difficulties in identifying feelings (DIF), difficulties in describing feelings (DDF), and externally oriented thinking (EOT)] were associated with higher OHIP-14 composite scores according to Poisson regression analyses. In adjusted logistic regression analyses, the TAS-20 and two of its dimensions (DIF and DDF) were positively and significantly associated with the seven OHIP-14 dimensions and the prevalence of those reporting one or more OHIP-14 items fairly often or very often. The study showed that difficulties in emotional regulation might be reflected in poorer OHRQoL, regardless of the dental health status, depression, anxiety, and socio-demographic variables.

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