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Quintessence Publishing: Journals: QI
Quintessence International

Edited by Eli Eliav

ISSN 0033-6572 (print) • ISSN 1936-7163 (online)

July/August 2007
Volume 38 , Issue 7

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Dental visits and personality traits among young adults

Liran Levin, DMD / Noam E. Proter, DMD / Sagit Levin, BSW

PMID: 17694200

Objective: To evaluate the relationship between dental behavior, dental anxiety, and personality attachment traits among a healthy young adult population. Method and Materials: The study population consisted of 450 young adults (18 to 19 years old) who arrived for dental screening before military service. The survey was based on a questionnaire about dental behavior (ie, dental treatments and follow-up frequency, last dental visit, etc) as well as the Corah Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS) questionnaire, and the Self-Report Measurement of Adult Attachment (SRAA) questionnaire used to rate 3 adult attachment styles (secure, anxious, and avoidant). Results: The questionnaire was completed by 429 participants (95.3% response rate), in which 131 (30.5%) reported regular visits to their dental clinician and 61 (14.2%) did not visit a dental clinic at all. A total of 287 participants (66.9%) reported their last dental visit to be during the previous 2 years before the study, and 49 (11.4%) reported no visit to a dental office during the previous 5 years. DAS score ranged from 4 to 20 (mean 8.5 ± 3.3). High levels of dental anxiety, as indicated by DAS scores, correlated with less frequent dental visits, as well as with no visit to a dental clinic over the past few years. Participants who scored high on avoidant attachment were more likely to report occasional or no dental visits (P = .03). High DAS scores were more frequent among anxiously attached persons (P < .001) and among participants who scored high on attachment avoidance (P = .0013). Conclusions: Physiologic factors could have an impact on the patient’s response. Patients, particularly anxious and avoidant attached ones, tend to visit the dental clinic less frequently. (Quintessence Int 2007;38:612.e379–383)

Key words: anxiety, avoidance, Bowlby, dental fear, psychologic attachment, psychologic evaluation

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