Children aren't scared by nasty dentist visits, but by what they think of them

Posted on May 10, 2013

The Greek Stoic Epictetus wrote that "Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them." A new study involving 185 children and teenagers, 88 fathers and 97 mothers shows how this same principle applies to children's fear of the dentist. This is an important topic because many children avoid the dentist out of fear, and around half of dentally anxious adults trace their fears to childhood.

As you'd expect, all the non-cognitive factors were associated with the children's dental fear. So having a bad experience, having a more fearful temperament and having fearful parents were all associated with being more scared of the dentist. But none of these were as strongly related to the children's fear as their cognitive vulnerability, which explained an additional 20 per cent of variation in fear levels.

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Category(s):Fear

Source material from The British Psychological Society


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