Child coping strategies, dental anxiety and dental treatment: the influence of age, gender and childhood caries prevalence

P. van Meurs, K. E. Howard, J. Versloot, J. S. J. Veerkamp, R. Freeman

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    Aim This was to investigate what coping strategies are used by children, the efficacy of these strategies and the influences of age, gender, dental anxiety, pain experience and childhood caries prevalence (place of residence) upon the efficacy of the coping strategies used by Dutch (NL) children in The Netherlands and Northern Ireland (NI). Methods Convenience samples of Dutch and NI children were taken and asked to fill out a coping questionnaire (Dental Cope Questionnaire) and an anxiety schedule (CFSS-DS). Data were entered onto a SPSS database and subjected to frequency distributions, Chi-square analysis, t-tests and analysis of variance. Results The children used a wide variety of coping strategies in dealing with pain in dentistry. The most frequently used and those reported to have the greatest efficacy by the children in this investigation were cognitively based strategies. Different strategies were used in relation to place of residence, age and level of dental anxiety. The variance in the number of strategies used was significantly explained by the experienced pain during dental treatment. The efficacy of the coping strategies used was significantly explained by level of dental anxiety. Conclusions Dental coping strategies used by children seem to vary with age, dental anxiety and pain experience. This information can help dental practitioners to adjust his or her treatment to the child’s emotional needs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)173-178
    Number of pages6
    JournalEuropean Journal of Paediatric Dentistry
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005



    • Children
    • Anxiety
    • Coping strategies
    • Pain

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