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1.  The Dental Neglect Scale in adolescents 
BMC Oral Health  2009;9:2.
Dental neglect has been found to be related to poor oral health, a tendency not to have had routine check-ups, and a longer period of time since the last dental appointment in samples of children and adults. The Dental Neglect Scale (DNS) has been found to be a valid measure of dental neglect in samples of children and adults, and may be valid for adolescents as well. We administered the DNS to a sample of adolescents and report on the relationships between the DNS and oral health status, whether or not the adolescent has been to the dentist recently for routine check-ups, and whether or not the adolescent currently goes to a dentist. We also report the internal and test-retest reliabilities of the DNS in this sample, as well as the results of an exploratory factor analysis.
One hundred seventeen adolescents from seven youth groups in the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area (Washington State, U.S.) completed the DNS and indicated whether they currently go to a dentist, while parents indicated whether the adolescent had a check-up in the previous three years. Adolescents also received a dental screening. Sixty six adolescents completed the questionnaire twice. T-tests were used to compare DNS scores of adolescents who have visible caries or not, adolescents who have had a check-up in the past three years or not, and adolescents who currently go to a dentist or not. Internal reliability was measured by Cronbach's alpha, and test-rest reliability was measured by intra-class correlation. Factor analysis (Varimax rotation) was used to examine the factor structure.
In each comparison, significantly higher DNS scores were observed in adolescents with visible caries, who have not had a check-up in the past three years, or who do not go to a dentist (all p values < 0.05). The test-retest reliability of the DNS was high (ICC = 0.81), and its internal reliability was acceptable (Cronbach's alpha = 0.60). Factor analysis yielded two factors, characterized by home care and visiting a dentist.
The DNS appears to operate similarly in this sample of adolescents as it has in other samples of children and adults.
PMCID: PMC2627830  PMID: 19123953
2.  Thinking about going to the dentist: a Contemplation Ladder to assess dentally-avoidant individuals' readiness to go to a dentist 
BMC Oral Health  2011;11:4.
The Transtheoretical Model suggests that individuals vary according to their readiness to change behavior. Previous work in smoking cessation and other health areas suggests that interventions are more successful when they are tailored to an individual's stage of change with regards to the specific behavior. We report on the performance of a single-item measure ("Ladder") to assess the readiness to change dental-avoidant behavior.
An existing Contemplation Ladder for assessing stage of change in smoking cessation was modified to assess readiness to go to a dentist. The resulting Ladder was administered to samples of English-speaking adolescents (USA), Spanish-speaking adults (USA), and Norwegian military recruits (Norway) in order to assess construct validity. The Ladder was also administered to a sample of English-speaking avoidant adolescents and young adults who were enrolled in an intervention study (USA) in order to assess criterion validity. All participants also had dental examinations, and completed other questionnaires. Correlations, chi square, t tests and one-way ANOVAs were used to assess relationships between variables.
In two samples, participants who do not go to the dentist had significantly more teeth with caries; in a third sample, participants who do not go to the dentist had significantly worse caries. Ladder scores were not significantly related to age, gender, caries, or dental fear. However, Ladder scores were significantly related to statements of intention to visit a dentist in the future and the importance of oral health. In a preliminary finding, Ladder scores at baseline also predicted whether or not the participants decided to go to a dentist in the intervention sample.
The data provide support for the convergent and divergent construct validity of the Ladder, and preliminary support for its criterion validity. The lack of relationship between dental fear and Ladder scores suggests that avoidant individuals may be helped to decide to go to a dentist using interventions which do not explicitly target their fear.
PMCID: PMC3045398  PMID: 21272356
3.  Psychometric properties of Spanish-language adult dental fear measures 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:15.
It would be useful to have psychometrically-sound measures of dental fear for Hispanics, who comprise the largest ethnic minority in the United States. We report on the psychometric properties of Spanish-language versions of two common adult measures of dental fear (Modified Dental Anxiety Scale, MDAS; Dental Fear Survey, DFS), as well as a measure of fear of dental injections (Needle Survey, NS).
Spanish versions of the measures were administered to 213 adults attending Hispanic cultural festivals, 31 students (who took the questionnaire twice, for test-retest reliability), and 100 patients at a dental clinic. We also administered the questionnaire to 136 English-speaking adults at the Hispanic festivals and 58 English-speaking students at the same college where we recruited the Spanish-speaking students, to compare the performance of the English and Spanish measures in the same populations.
The internal reliabilities of the Spanish MDAS ranged from 0.80 to 0.85. Values for the DFS ranged from 0.92 to 0.96, and values for the NS ranged from 0.92 to 0.94. The test-retest reliabilities (intra-class correlations) for the three measures were 0.69, 0.86, and 0.94 for the MDAS, DFS, and NS, respectively. The three measures showed moderate correlations with one another in all three samples, providing evidence for construct validity. Patients with higher scores on the measures were rated as being more anxious during dental procedures. Similar internal reliabilities and correlations were found in the English-version analyses. The test-retest values were also similar in the English students for the DFS and NS; however, the English test-retest value for the MDAS was better than that found in the Spanish students.
We found evidence for the internal reliability, construct validity, and criterion validity for the Spanish versions of the three measures, and evidence for the test-retest reliability of the Spanish versions of the DFS and NS.
PMCID: PMC2391155  PMID: 18474102
4.  Additional psychometric data for the Spanish Modified Dental Anxiety Scale, and psychometric data for a Spanish version of the Revised Dental Beliefs Survey 
BMC Oral Health  2010;10:12.
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).
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.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC2887771  PMID: 20465835
5.  Psychometric properties of Greek versions of the Modified Corah Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS) and the Dental Fear Survey (DFS) 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:29.
A growing body of literature describes the performance of dental fear questionnaires in various countries. We describe the psychometric properties of Greek versions of the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS) and the Dental Fear Survey (DFS) in adult Greek patients.
Greek versions of the MDAS and DFS were administered to two samples of adult dental patients. In the first sample, 195 patients attending one of three private practice dental offices in a large city in Greece completed the questionnaires in the waiting room before dental treatment. After treatment, their dentists (who did not know how the patients had answered the questionnaire) rated their anxiety during dental treatment. In the second sample, 41 patients attending a Greek university dental school clinic completed the questionnaire twice at two separate visits, in order to provide test-retest data. Cronbach's alpha was used to compute the internal consistencies, while Spearman's rho was used to compute the test-retest reliabilities. Construct validity was assessed by correlating the responses to the MDAS and DFS by Spearman's rho. Spearman's rho was also used to examine the criterion validities, by comparing the questionnaire responses with the dentists' ratings of anxiety.
The internal consistencies for the MDAS were 0.90 and 0.92 in the two samples; for the DFS, the internal consistencies were 0.96 in both samples. The test-retest reliabilities were 0.94 for the MDAS and 0.95 for the DFS. The correlation between the two questionnaires was 0.89. The patients' responses to both questionnaires were significantly related to the dentists' ratings of their anxiety during dental treatment (both p values <0.001).
The results indicate that the Greek versions of the MDAS and DFS have good internal consistencies and test-retest reliabilities, as well as good construct and criterion validities. The psychometric properties of the Greek versions of these questionnaires appear to be similar to those previously reported in other countries.
PMCID: PMC2571087  PMID: 18826612

Results 1-5 (5)