Anxiety, Stress and Coping Patterns in Children in Dental Settings
Keywords:Stress, Anxiety, Coping system, Children, Dentistry
BACKGROUND: Fear of the dentist and dental treatment is a common problem. It can cause treatment difficulties for the practitioner, as well as severe consequences for the patient. As is known, the level of stress can be evaluated thought electrodermal activity, cortisol measure in saliva, or indirectly by psychometric tests.
AIM: The present study examined the psychological influence of dental interventions on the child as well as coping patterns used for stress diminution.
METHODS: We examined two matched groups of patients: a) children with orthodontic problems (anomalies in shape, position and function of dentomaxillofacial structures) (N = 31, mean age 10.3 Â± 2.02) years; and b) children with ordinary dental problems (N = 31, mean age 10.3 Â± 2.4 years). As psychometric instruments, we used: 45 items Sarasonâ€™s scale for anxiety, 20 items simple Stress - test adapted for children, as well as A - cope test for evaluation coping patterns.
RESULTS: Obtained scores confirmed the presence of moderate anxiety in both groups as well as moderate stress level. For Sarasonâ€™s test obtained scores for the group with dental problems are 20.63 Â± 8.37 (from max 45); and for Stress test 7.63 Â± 3.45 (from max 20); for the orthodontic group obtained scores are 18.66 Â± 6.85 for Sarasonâ€™s test, while for the Stress test were 7.76 Â± 3.78. One way ANOVA confirmed a significant difference in values of obtained scores related to the age and gender. Calculated Student t - test shows non-significant differences in obtained test results for both groups of examinees. Coping mechanisms evaluated by A - cope test shows that in both groups the most important patterns used for stress relief are: developing self-reliance and optimism; avoiding problems and engaging in demanding activity.CONCLUSION: This study confirmed that moderate stress level and anxiety are present in both groups of patients (orthodontic and dental). Obtained scores are depending on gender and age. As more used coping patterns in both groups are developing self-reliance and optimism; avoiding problems and engaging in demanding activity. Some strategies for managing this problem are discussed.
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