Assessment of a single-item dental anxiety question

Acta Odontol Scand. 1990 Dec;48(6):365-9. doi: 10.3109/00016359009029067.


This paper discusses issues related to the validity and usefulness of a single-item measure of dental anxiety: The Dental Anxiety Question (DAQ) 'Are you afraid of going to the dentist?'. A nationwide random sample of 1351 people aged 15-79 years answered the DAQ and Corah's Dental Anxiety Scale (CDAS). In addition, the respondents were categorized with regard to gender, age, geographic areas, and residential districts. The internal consistency reliability coefficient for CDAS was high (alpha = 0.91), and DAQ correlated highly with all of the four items on the CDAS (mean, r = 0.71). The correlations between the DAQ and the CDAS were high for men, women, and between age groups (r = 0.74-0.86). Women had significantly higher mean values on the DAQ than men in all age groups, and for both genders the mean DAQ values decreased with increasing age. The DAQ mean values were insignificantly different across geographic areas and residential districts. The conclusion is drawn that the DAQ shows promising qualities as a reliable and valid measure of the overall dental anxiety in the Norwegian adult population.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Dental Care / psychology*
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Personality Inventory*
  • Reproducibility of Results