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VOLUME 1 , ISSUE 2 ( Winter Issue, 1999 ) > List of Articles


Dental Hygiene Fear: Gender and Age Differences

Cynthia C. Gadbury-Amyot, Karen B. Williams

Citation Information : Gadbury-Amyot CC, Williams KB. Dental Hygiene Fear: Gender and Age Differences. J Contemp Dent Pract 1999; 1 (2):1-11.

DOI: 10.5005/jcdp-1-2-1

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Published Online: 01-08-2004

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2000; The Author(s).


Studies aimed at examining gender and age differences as they relate to dental anxiety have begun to appear in the literature. The purpose of this investigation was to explore fear and anxiety in a dental hygiene setting and evaluate gender and age differences among four sub-scales of dental hygiene fear.

The Dental Hygiene Fear Survey (DHFS) was developed to address patient reaction to dental hygiene treatment. The University of Washington Dental Fears Model was the theoretical model used for it identifies four domains of dental fear: fear of specific stimuli, generalized anxiety, fear of catastrophe, and distrust.

Males and females respond differently to dental hygiene treatment with women reporting significantly (p<.05) greater fear overall than males. Examination of the four dental hygiene fear sub-scales show that females report greater fear (p<.05) in relation to specific fear and generalized anxiety. There were no significant differences across age categories on total fear scores or within any of the sub-scales.

Characterization of the dental hygiene fear patient along with knowledge of procedures that elicit anxiety can assist the practitioner in recognizing dental hygiene-related fear. With this foundation, the practitioner can then develop management strategies specific to this phenomenon.

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