Indicators of dental anxiety in children just prior to treatment

M. Majstorovic, D. E. Morse, D. Do, L. L. Lim, N. G. Herman, A. M. Moursi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: We evaluated the relationship between child dental anxiety and selected child and parental characteristics. Study design: Children and their parents were interviewed at the New York University, College of Dentistry, Pediatric Dentistry Clinic. The Children's Fear Survey Schedule - Dental Subscale (CFSS-DS) evaluated child self-reported anxiety; the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS) measured self-reported parental anxiety when the parent received dental treatment. Results: Ninety-three children and their parents completed the questionnaires. Mean CFSS-DS scores were higher for girls than boys (32.5 vs. 26.3, p=0.003) and for children whose accompanying parents had MDAS scores of 11+ vs. <11 (32.8 vs. 26.6, p=0.001). There was little difference in mean CFSS-DS scores among those aged 6-10 yrs. vs. 11-14 yrs. (30.1 vs. 29.3). Significant correlations were found between CFSS-DS and both gender (Spearman's rho, rs=0.31) and MDAS scores (rs=0.33), but not between CFSS-DS and child age (rs=-0.05). Controlling simultaneously for gender, MDAS score and child age, a high CFSS-DS score (38+ vs. <38) was positively associated with girls (ORadj=3.76, 95% CI: 1.13-12.54) and an MDAS score of ≥15 vs. <11 (ORadj=2.50, 0.73-8.54), but weakly and inversely associated with age (ORadj=0.80, 0.25-2.52). Conclusion: Child gender and parental anxiety are indicators of child dental anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-17
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


  • Children's dental anxiety
  • Maternal anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • General Dentistry


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