The Influence of Family Milieu on Dental Anxiety in Adolescents-A Cross-Sectional Study

J Clin Med. 2023 Mar 10;12(6):2174. doi: 10.3390/jcm12062174.


Parents play a significant role in the development of dental anxiety in their adolescent children. This cross-sectional study aimed to evaluate the influence of family milieu on adolescents' dental anxiety. The level of dental anxiety (Dental Anxiety Scale-DAS) was evaluated in 100 adolescent dental patients (ages 13-18 years) and their parents. Parents supplied information about family demographics and their personal experiences of dental treatment. Concomitantly, the family's behavior was observed during the dental encounter. The adolescents' mean DAS score was 9.83 ± 2.05. Adolescents' DAS was higher when their parents' memories from their own dental encounters were negative. A positive correlation was found between adolescents' dental anxiety and that of their father (r = 0.52, p < 0.001) and mother (r = 0.79, p < 0.001). The following variables showed a significant ability to predict adolescents' dental anxiety (stepwise regression): mother's DAS (B = 0.57), adolescent's behavior at the dental visit (B = 0.87), being the firstborn child (B = -0.44), father's DAS (B = 0.13), and mother's level of education (B = -0.10). The results showed that intra-family relationships and behavior, parents' education, dental fear, and memories from previous treatments play an important role in defining the level of dental anxiety in their adolescent children.

Keywords: DAS; adolescents; dental anxiety; dental fear; education; family milieu; memories; parents.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.