Dental anxiety and alexithymia: Gender differences

Aki Viinikangas, Satu Lahti, Mimmi Tolvanen, Ruth Freeman, Gerry Humphris, Matti Joukamaa

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    • 5 Citations

    Abstract

    Objective. Alexithymia refers to a personality construct that is characterized by impoverishment of imagination, poor capacity for symbolic thought, and inability to experience and describe feelings. Our aim was to investigate the association of alexithymia and dental anxiety in patients attending dental practice. A further aim was to discover whether gender differences exist in this association when adjusting for the effect of age. Material and Methods. The data were collected among adult (18 + years) patients attending the public dental health centers in Pori, Finland. Patients received a questionnaire assessing dental anxiety ( Modified Dental Anxiety Scale, MDAS), alexithymia (20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale, TAS-20), and demographic profile. Total score and scores for three TAS factors: 1) "difficulty identifying with feelings'', 2) "difficulty describing feelings'', and 3) "externally orientated thinking'', were computed. Results. Of 823 patients, 81% correctly completed the questionnaires. Nine percent belonged to the high anxiety ( MDAS score 19 or higher) group and 7% reported alexithymia ( total score 61 or higher). The prevalence of alexithymia was 15.5% among those reporting high dental anxiety compared with 5.9% among those reporting low dental anxiety (p = 0.005). Those with high dental anxiety scored higher in TAS factor 1 than those with lower dental anxiety. No statistically significant bivariate associations with other TAS factors were found. When adjusting for the effect of age and gender, the association between TAS factors and dichotomized MDAS was significant in all TAS scores except TAS factor 3. Conclusions. In a sample representing Finnish adult dental patients, alexithymia was associated with dental anxiety.

    LanguageEnglish
    Pages13-18
    Number of pages6
    JournalActa Odontologica Scandinavica
    Volume67
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Keywords

    • Adults
    • age
    • patients
    • PANIC DISORDER
    • GENERAL-POPULATION
    • FACTORIAL VALIDITY
    • SOCIAL PHOBIA
    • SCALE
    • PREVALENCE
    • FINLAND
    • RELIABILITY
    • ASSOCIATION
    • FEAR

    Cite this

    Viinikangas, A., Lahti, S., Tolvanen, M., Freeman, R., Humphris, G., & Joukamaa, M. (2009). Dental anxiety and alexithymia: Gender differences. Acta Odontologica Scandinavica, 67(1), 13-18. https://doi.org/10.1080/00016350802459264
    Viinikangas, Aki ; Lahti, Satu ; Tolvanen, Mimmi ; Freeman, Ruth ; Humphris, Gerry ; Joukamaa, Matti. / Dental anxiety and alexithymia : Gender differences. In: Acta Odontologica Scandinavica. 2009 ; Vol. 67, No. 1. pp. 13-18.
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    abstract = "Objective. Alexithymia refers to a personality construct that is characterized by impoverishment of imagination, poor capacity for symbolic thought, and inability to experience and describe feelings. Our aim was to investigate the association of alexithymia and dental anxiety in patients attending dental practice. A further aim was to discover whether gender differences exist in this association when adjusting for the effect of age. Material and Methods. The data were collected among adult (18 + years) patients attending the public dental health centers in Pori, Finland. Patients received a questionnaire assessing dental anxiety ( Modified Dental Anxiety Scale, MDAS), alexithymia (20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale, TAS-20), and demographic profile. Total score and scores for three TAS factors: 1) {"}difficulty identifying with feelings'', 2) {"}difficulty describing feelings'', and 3) {"}externally orientated thinking'', were computed. Results. Of 823 patients, 81{\%} correctly completed the questionnaires. Nine percent belonged to the high anxiety ( MDAS score 19 or higher) group and 7{\%} reported alexithymia ( total score 61 or higher). The prevalence of alexithymia was 15.5{\%} among those reporting high dental anxiety compared with 5.9{\%} among those reporting low dental anxiety (p = 0.005). Those with high dental anxiety scored higher in TAS factor 1 than those with lower dental anxiety. No statistically significant bivariate associations with other TAS factors were found. When adjusting for the effect of age and gender, the association between TAS factors and dichotomized MDAS was significant in all TAS scores except TAS factor 3. Conclusions. In a sample representing Finnish adult dental patients, alexithymia was associated with dental anxiety.",
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    Viinikangas, A, Lahti, S, Tolvanen, M, Freeman, R, Humphris, G & Joukamaa, M 2009, 'Dental anxiety and alexithymia: Gender differences' Acta Odontologica Scandinavica, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 13-18. https://doi.org/10.1080/00016350802459264

    Dental anxiety and alexithymia : Gender differences. / Viinikangas, Aki; Lahti, Satu; Tolvanen, Mimmi; Freeman, Ruth; Humphris, Gerry; Joukamaa, Matti.

    In: Acta Odontologica Scandinavica, Vol. 67, No. 1, 2009, p. 13-18.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Dental anxiety and alexithymia

    T2 - Acta Odontologica Scandinavica

    AU - Viinikangas, Aki

    AU - Lahti, Satu

    AU - Tolvanen, Mimmi

    AU - Freeman, Ruth

    AU - Humphris, Gerry

    AU - Joukamaa, Matti

    PY - 2009

    Y1 - 2009

    N2 - Objective. Alexithymia refers to a personality construct that is characterized by impoverishment of imagination, poor capacity for symbolic thought, and inability to experience and describe feelings. Our aim was to investigate the association of alexithymia and dental anxiety in patients attending dental practice. A further aim was to discover whether gender differences exist in this association when adjusting for the effect of age. Material and Methods. The data were collected among adult (18 + years) patients attending the public dental health centers in Pori, Finland. Patients received a questionnaire assessing dental anxiety ( Modified Dental Anxiety Scale, MDAS), alexithymia (20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale, TAS-20), and demographic profile. Total score and scores for three TAS factors: 1) "difficulty identifying with feelings'', 2) "difficulty describing feelings'', and 3) "externally orientated thinking'', were computed. Results. Of 823 patients, 81% correctly completed the questionnaires. Nine percent belonged to the high anxiety ( MDAS score 19 or higher) group and 7% reported alexithymia ( total score 61 or higher). The prevalence of alexithymia was 15.5% among those reporting high dental anxiety compared with 5.9% among those reporting low dental anxiety (p = 0.005). Those with high dental anxiety scored higher in TAS factor 1 than those with lower dental anxiety. No statistically significant bivariate associations with other TAS factors were found. When adjusting for the effect of age and gender, the association between TAS factors and dichotomized MDAS was significant in all TAS scores except TAS factor 3. Conclusions. In a sample representing Finnish adult dental patients, alexithymia was associated with dental anxiety.

    AB - Objective. Alexithymia refers to a personality construct that is characterized by impoverishment of imagination, poor capacity for symbolic thought, and inability to experience and describe feelings. Our aim was to investigate the association of alexithymia and dental anxiety in patients attending dental practice. A further aim was to discover whether gender differences exist in this association when adjusting for the effect of age. Material and Methods. The data were collected among adult (18 + years) patients attending the public dental health centers in Pori, Finland. Patients received a questionnaire assessing dental anxiety ( Modified Dental Anxiety Scale, MDAS), alexithymia (20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale, TAS-20), and demographic profile. Total score and scores for three TAS factors: 1) "difficulty identifying with feelings'', 2) "difficulty describing feelings'', and 3) "externally orientated thinking'', were computed. Results. Of 823 patients, 81% correctly completed the questionnaires. Nine percent belonged to the high anxiety ( MDAS score 19 or higher) group and 7% reported alexithymia ( total score 61 or higher). The prevalence of alexithymia was 15.5% among those reporting high dental anxiety compared with 5.9% among those reporting low dental anxiety (p = 0.005). Those with high dental anxiety scored higher in TAS factor 1 than those with lower dental anxiety. No statistically significant bivariate associations with other TAS factors were found. When adjusting for the effect of age and gender, the association between TAS factors and dichotomized MDAS was significant in all TAS scores except TAS factor 3. Conclusions. In a sample representing Finnish adult dental patients, alexithymia was associated with dental anxiety.

    KW - Adults

    KW - age

    KW - patients

    KW - PANIC DISORDER

    KW - GENERAL-POPULATION

    KW - FACTORIAL VALIDITY

    KW - SOCIAL PHOBIA

    KW - SCALE

    KW - PREVALENCE

    KW - FINLAND

    KW - RELIABILITY

    KW - ASSOCIATION

    KW - FEAR

    U2 - 10.1080/00016350802459264

    DO - 10.1080/00016350802459264

    M3 - Article

    VL - 67

    SP - 13

    EP - 18

    JO - Acta Odontologica Scandinavica

    JF - Acta Odontologica Scandinavica

    SN - 0001-6357

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