Stress is discussed as a potential factor in the development of sleep bruxism (SB). The aim of this study was to investigate whether specific stress-factors correlate with SB-activity.
Sixty-nine subjects, of which 48 were SB-patients, completed three German questionnaires assessing different stress-parameters and stress-coping-strategies: Short questionnaire for recognition of stress-factors (Kurzer Fragebogen zur Erfassung von Belastungen, KFB), Questionnaire for recuperation and strain (Erholungs-Belastungs-Fragebogen, EBF-24 A/3) and the stress-coping questionnaire (Stressverarbeitungsfragebogen-78, SVF-78). The diagnosis of SB was based on the clinical criteria of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). The degree of SB-activity was measured by the Bruxcore-Bruxism-Monitoring-Device (BBMD, Bruxcore, Boston, USA), worn for five consecutive nights and analyzed using a computer-based method. Non-parametric Spearman correlation coefficients, rho, were calculated between the psychometric data and the amount of SB-activity measured by a pixel score of the BBMD.
Significant correlations were found for 'daily problems' (r = 0.461, p < 0.01), 'trouble at work' (r = 0.293), 'fatigue' (r = 0.288), 'physical problems' (r = 0.288) and the coping-strategy 'escape' (r = 0.295) (all p < 0.05).
Within the limitations of this study it could be shown that subjects with high SB-activity tend to feel more stressed at work and in their daily life, which in turn might influence their physical state. These subjects also seem to deal with stress in a negative way. However, due to the rather low to almost moderate correlation coefficients and the descriptive character of the study, further investigations are necessary to examine a possible causal relationship.