Relationships among psychological functioning, dental anxiety, pain perception, and coping in children and adolescents

Meghan L. Marsac, Jeanne B. Funk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study's purpose was to examine relationships among dental anxiety, psychological functioning, coping, and pain perception in child and adolescent dental patients and their parents. Participants were recruited from private dental offices and included 129 9- to 15-year-old patients and 84 parents. The children completed self-report measures of dental anxiety, dental coping, and pain perception, while parents completed self-report measures of dental anxiety, dental coping, and child's psychological functioning. The intraclass correlation coefficient method was used to examine each hypothesis. For child-ren, correlational analyses indicated positive relationships between dental anxiety and total psychological symptoms, and dental anxiety and pain perception. Both child and parent coping measures were examined using principal axis factor analysis. Clear 2-factor structures (ie, approach and avoidant-based coping factors) emerged. The children's approach-based coping was negatively related to both dental anxiety and pain perception; their use of avoidant-based coping was also negatively related to dental anxiety. Psychological functioning emerged as a mediating variable between dental anxiety and pain perception. The findings suggest that dental professionals and clinicians should consider dental anxiety and general psychological functioning to reduce pain perception in the office. Additionally, the child's coping type and approach should be considered in treatment planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-251
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dentistry for Children
Volume75
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008

Keywords

  • Coping
  • Dental anxiety
  • Pain perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Relationships among psychological functioning, dental anxiety, pain perception, and coping in children and adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this