Analysis of Dental Anxiety and Avoidance Behaviors in Young Adults

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DeLucia, Renata
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University Honors College Middle Tennessee State University
The aim of this thesis was to analyze dental anxieties in young adults to account for the role these anxieties play in avoidance behaviors in patients. Fifty-eight young adults participated in an online survey about dental fears and behaviors related to dental experiences. We assessed gender differences in dental anxiety as well as the relationship between dental anxiety and avoidant behaviors in the sample. Results indicated that males reported fewer specific dental fears than females; although, males and females reported similar levels of overall dental anxiety. Regarding the relationship between dental anxiety and avoidant behaviors, results indicated that participants with higher dental anxiety practiced more dental avoidance behaviors than those with lower dental anxiety. Lastly, we challenged the prediction that those with high and low dental anxiety would report similar physiological response in dental situations; this hypothesis was not supported. Implications of these findings are discussed.
College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, Dental Anxiety, Anxiety, Avoidance Behaviors