Validating a measure of the prevalence of dental anxiety as applied to Kuwaiti adolescents

S. Honkala, H. Al-Yahya, E. Honkala, R. Freeman, G. Humphris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To assess self-reported dental anxiety (DA) among Kuwaiti adolescents and to test whether different dental anxiety scales are valid for measuring DA in Kuwait. Basic research design: Cross-sectional, structured, anonymous questionnaire survey in Arabic completed at government schools. Participants: 757 pupils aged 13–15 years from three schools filled the questionnaire. Useable response rate was 93.0%. Main measures: DA was assessed by: 1, a single-item dental fear question (DF); 2, the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS); and 3, the Modified Child Dental Anxiety Scale: faces (MCDASf). Results: A third of the girls and 6% of boys reported being very much afraid of visiting a dentist. Use of the drill and injection in the gum were the most anxiety arousing MDAS items; tooth extraction and injection of the MCDASf items. Total mean for MDAS was 11.4 (sd 4.6) and for MCDASf 16.6 (sd 6.5). A tenth of the children were highly dentally anxious when measured by MDAS (score ≥19). Girls reported statistically significantly higher DA scores with all the measures. There was a high correlation between the total score of the MDAS and the total score of the MCDASf (ρ=0.855). Statistically significant relationship (p<0.001) was found between the single-item DF and the total score of the MDAS and a single item and the total score of the MCDASf. Conclusions: A tenth of children were highly dentally anxious; girls reporting higher scores. A single-item dental fear question, MDAS and MCDASf were valid tools for measuring DA among Kuwaiti adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-256
Number of pages6
JournalCommunity Dental Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Adolescence
  • Cross-sectional study
  • Dental anxiety
  • Kuwait
  • MDAS
  • Questionnaire
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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