Title: Reliability and validity of measures used in assessing dental anxiety in 5- to 15-year-old Croatian children
Abstract: Aim The aim of the study was to evaluate reliability and validity of different questionnaires and predict related causes, as concomitant factors in assessing different aspects of childrenís dental anxiety. Study design Children were interviewed on dental anxiety, dispositional risk factors and satisfaction with the dentist after dental treatment had been accomplished. Parents were interviewed on dental anxiety as well. Methods The study population included 165 children (91 boys) aged 5 to 15 years, referred to a university dental clinic by general dental practitioners because of a history of fear and uncooperative behaviour during previous dental visits. Children were treated by two dentists, both experienced in treating fearful children. Statistics Statistical analysis was performed in Statistics for Windows, Release 5.5 and Release 7.5. Pearsonís correlation coefficients were calculated for validity and Cronbach alpha for reliability of the measures. Spearman Brown prophecy formula was used for correction of the alpha scores. Results The childrenís total average CFSS-DS score was 27.02, with no significant difference with respect to gender. The highest Cronbach alpha scores regarding reliability were obtained for the S-DAI, the CFSS-DS and the PDAS. Pearsonís correlations regarding validity presented significant correlations between the CMFQ, the CDAS and the S-DAI, between the OAS, the CDAS and the S-DAI, as well as between the OAS and the DVSS-SV. Conclusion Previous negative medical experience had significant influence on childrenís dental anxiety, supporting Rachmanís conditioning theory. Anxious children were more likely to show behaviour problems (aggression) and more introvert in expressing their judgement regarding the dentist. Both the S-DAI and the CFSS-DS, which were standardized in the Croatian population sample, showed the highest reliability in assessment of childrenís dental anxiety.