Aims: To examine the influence of psychosocial functioning and dental factors in adolescents with temporomandibular disorders (TMD) versus healthy subjects. Methods: The TMD sample comprised 63 patients (21 boys and 42 girls, 33% and 67%, respectively, with a mean age of 14.9 years; range 12 to 18 years) and was compared with 64 healthy control subjects (17 boys and 47 girls, 27% and 73%, respectively, with a mean age of 14.8 years). Subjects in the TMD group had to report pain once a week or more and to have a TMD pain diagnosis according to the Research Diagnostic Criteria for TMD. Participants were clinically examined and filled out a questionnaire in which self-reported psychosocial functioning was assessed on standardized measures, including the Youth Self-Report (YSR), somatic complaints, and stress. Results: No significant differences were found in dental factors among adolescents in the TMD group compared with those in the control group. Multiple pains in the body and fatigue were significantly more common in the TMD group compared with the control group. Adolescents with TMD also reported significantly higher levels of stress, somatic complaints, and aggressive behavior than their counterparts in the control group. In particular, young adolescents with TMD reported high levels of psychosocial problems. Conclusion: In adolescents with TMD, psychosocial factors such as increased levels of stress, somatic complaints, and emotional problems seem to play a more prominent role than dental factors. J OROFAC PAIN 2001;15:218–227.
Key words: adolescence, bruxism, headache, psychological tests, temporomandibular disorders