A community study on the relationship between stress, coping, affective dispositions and periodontal attachment loss

Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2006 Aug;34(4):252-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.2006.00282.x.


Background: Psychological factors may increase the risk for periodontal diseases. Contemporary conceptualization of the stress process supports the evaluation of stress at three levels: stressors, moderating and mediating factors, and stress reactions.

Objective: This study was undertaken to investigate the relationship of periodontal disease in terms of clinical attachment level (CAL) to psychosocial stress, making reference to the major components of stress process.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of 1000 subjects aged 25-64 years in Hong Kong was conducted. Subjects were asked to complete a set of questionnaires measuring stressors including changes, significant life event and daily strains, stress reactions including physiological and affective responses, and coping and affective dispositions. CAL was assessed.

Results: Individuals with high mean CAL values had higher scores on the job and financial strain scales than periodontally healthy individuals (P < 0.05), after adjusting for age, gender, cigarette smoking and systemic disease. Depression, anxiety trait, depression trait, problem-focused coping, and emotion-focused coping were also related to CAL. Logistic regression analysis indicated that all these factors were significant risk indicators for periodontal attachment loss, except problem-focused coping, which reduced the odds of CAL. Individuals who were high emotion-focused copers, low problem-focused copers, trait anxious, or trait depressive had a higher odds of more severe CAL.

Conclusion: Chronic job and financial strains, depression, inadequate coping, and maladaptive trait dispositions are significant risk indicators for periodontal attachment loss. Adequate coping and adaptive trait dispositions, evidenced as high problem-focused coping and low anxiety/depression trait, may reduce the stress-associated odds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Anxiety
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Periodontal Attachment Loss / etiology*
  • Periodontal Attachment Loss / psychology*
  • Periodontal Index
  • Psychological Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires