Examination of Dental Distress and Anxiety-Related Vulnerability Factors

Olson, Sydney (2018) Examination of Dental Distress and Anxiety-Related Vulnerability Factors. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Laura J. Dixon from Psychology, University of Mississippi.


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Apprehension towards dental services has been documented for decades, and despite modern scientific advances, dental anxiety and phobia continue to adversely affect individuals’ oral and mental health. Furthermore, the prevalence of dental distress is estimated to range from 8% to nearly 30% among community samples. Given the prevalence and impairment of dental distress, understanding the underlying mechanisms is pertinent to finding more effective treatments. In particular, transdiagnostic processes that may be implicated in dental distress include anxiety sensitivity (AS), pain sensitivity (PS), and distress tolerance (DT). As such, the aims of the current study were 1.) to characterize dental distress and 2.) to examine transdiagnostic vulnerabilities in this population. The results indicated that female students and individuals with a prior traumatic dental experience reported significantly higher dental distress. In addition, dental distress was significantly associated with higher levels of AS, greater PS, and less DT. Furthermore, data showed that both AS and DT were unique predictors of dental distress after accounting for sex and history of a traumatic dental experience. The results suggest that treatments that target reductions in anxiety sensitivity and increases in the ability to tolerate psychological and physiological distress may be beneficial in easing dental distress.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Olson, Sydney
Student's Degree Program(s): Psychology
Thesis Advisor: Laura J. Dixon
Thesis Advisor's Department: Psychology
Institution: University of Mississippi
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RK Dentistry
Depositing User: Sydney K. Olson
Date Deposited: 18 May 2018 15:28
Last Modified: 18 May 2018 15:28
URI: http://thesis.honors.olemiss.edu/id/eprint/1243

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