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

S Honkala, H Al-Yahya, E Honkala, R Freeman, Gerald Michael Humphris

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15 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 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)1-6
JournalCommunity Dental Health
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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


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