M. ten Berge
- The etiology of childhood dental fear: The role of dental and conditioning experiences.
- Journal of Anxiety Disorders
- Volume | Issue number
- 16 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
This study aimed to examine the relative importance of invasive treatment experiences in the acquisition of dental fear in children. For this purpose, the complete dental history of 401 children (aged 5-10 years) was studied. The level of dental fear in these children was assessed using the Dental Subscale of the Children's Fear Survey Schedule. Differences in treatment variables between fearful and low fearful children were analyzed, and regression analysis was performed to determine significant predictors of dental fear. A significant but weak relation with the number of extractions was found, while no relation with the number of fillings was found. The results indicate that within the (direct) conditioning pathway, objective dental experiences seem to play a minor role in children's fear acquisition, and it was suggested that subjective dental experiences may play a more decisive role. In addition, clinical support for the latent inhibition theory was provided.