Decayed and missing teeth and oral-health-related factors: Predicting depression in homeless people

Emma Coles, Karen Chan, Jennifer Collins, Gerry M. Humphris, Derek Richards, Brian Williams, Ruth Freeman (Lead / Corresponding author)

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40 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The objective of the study was to determine the effect of dental health status, dental anxiety and oral-health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) upon homeless people's experience of depression.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted on a sample of homeless people in seven National Health Service Boards in Scotland. All participants completed a questionnaire to assess their depression, dental anxiety and OHRQoL using reliable and valid measures. Participants had an oral examination to assess their experience of tooth decay (decayed and missing teeth). Latent variable path analysis was conducted to determine the effects of dental health status on depression via dental anxiety and OHRQoL using intensive resampling methods.

Results: A total of 853 homeless people participated, of which 70% yielded complete data sets. Three latent variables, decayed and missing teeth, dental anxiety (Modified Dental Anxiety Scale: five items) and depression (Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale: two factors), and a single variable for OHRQoL (Oral Health Impact Profile total scale) were used in a hybrid structural equation model. The variable decayed and missing teeth was associated with depression through indirect pathways (total standardised indirect effects=0.44, P<.001), via OHRQoL and dental anxiety (chi(2)=75.90, df=40, comparative fit index=0.985, Tucker-Lewis index=0.977, root mean square error of approximation=0.051 [90% confidence interval: 0.037-0.065]).

Conclusion: Depression in Scottish homeless people is related to dental health status and oral-health-related factors. Decayed and missing teeth may influence depression primarily through the psychological constructs of OHRQoL and, to a lesser extent, dental anxiety. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-112
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Dental anxiety
  • Depression
  • Homeless
  • Oral health
  • Path analysis
  • Quality of life


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  • Keith Woods Memorial Prize

    Yeung, A. (Recipient), Coles, E. (Recipient), Moore, A. (Recipient), Watt, C. (Recipient) & Freeman, R. (Recipient), 2011

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

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