Background: Hispanics comprise the largest ethnic minority group in the United States. Previous work with the Spanish Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS) yielded good validity, but lower test-retest reliability. We report the performance of the Spanish MDAS in a new sample, as well as the performance of the Spanish Revised Dental Beliefs Survey (R-DBS).
Methods: One hundred sixty two Spanish-speaking adults attending Spanish-language church services or an Hispanic cultural festival completed questionnaires containing the Spanish MDAS, Spanish R-DBS, and dental attendance questions, and underwent a brief oral examination. Church attendees completed the questionnaire a second time, for test-retest purposes.
Results: The Spanish MDAS and R-DBS were completed by 156 and 136 adults, respectively. The test-retest reliability of the Spanish MDAS was 0.83 (95% CI = 0.60-0.92). The internal reliability of the Spanish R-DBS was 0.96 (95% CI = 0.94-0.97), and the test-retest reliability was 0.86 (95% CI = 0.64-0.94). The two measures were significantly correlated (Spearman's rho = 0.38, p < 0.001). Participants who do not currently go to a dentist had significantly higher MDAS scores (t = 3.40, df = 106, p = 0.003) as well as significantly higher R-DBS scores (t = 2.21, df = 131, p = 0.029). Participants whose most recent dental visit was for pain or a problem, rather than for a check-up, scored significantly higher on both the MDAS (t = 3.00, df = 106, p = 0.003) and the R-DBS (t = 2.85, df = 92, p = 0.005). Those with high dental fear (MDAS score 19 or greater) were significantly more likely to have severe caries (Chi square = 6.644, df = 2, p = 0.036). Higher scores on the R-DBS were significantly related to having more missing teeth (Spearman's rho = 0.23, p = 0.009).
Conclusion: In this sample, the test-retest reliability of the Spanish MDAS was higher. The significant relationships between dental attendance and questionnaire scores, as well as the difference in caries severity seen in those with high fear, add to the evidence of this scale's construct validity in Hispanic samples. Our results also provide evidence for the internal and test-retest reliabilities, as well as the construct validity, of the Spanish R-DBS.