Dental Anxiety: Prevalence and Evaluation of Psychometric Properties of a Scale

Juliana Alvares Duarte Bonini Campos, Cristina Dupim Presoto, Carolina Scanavez Martins, Patrícia Aleixo dos Santos Domingos, João Maroco

Abstract


Aim: To estimate the reliability and validity of the Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS) and identify the prevalence and the effect of the socio-demographic characteristics of dental anxiety, in a sample of 212 adults. Methods: The psychometric sensitivity of the scale was assessed. A confirmatory factor analysis was performed, and the convergent validity and internal consistency were determined. The prevalence of anxiety was estimated, and the effect of socio-demographic variables on anxiety was assessed using structural equation modelling. Results: The participants’ mean age was 33.5 (SD = 15.6) years, and 62.3% were female. There was an adequate factorial adjustment of the scale in this sample. The convergent validity and internal consistency were adequate in the one-factor model. Regarding two-factor model, there was a high correlation (r) among the factors, which jeopardized the discriminant validity. A total of 47.6% of the participants (IC95% = 40.9 - 54.4) presented low levels of anxiety, 32.5% (IC95% = 26.2 - 38.9) moderate levels, and 12.3% (IC95% = 7.8 - 16.7) exacerbated levels. There was a non-significant effect of gender, age and education on the anxiety levels of this sample. Conclusion: We concluded that the one-factor model presented better psychometric qualities, that anxiety was highly prevalent and there was no significant effect of the demographic variables on anxiety, in this sample.


Keywords


dental anxiety; validation studies; prevalence