Article

Can parents and children evaluate each other's dental fear?

Department of Community Dentistry, Institute of Dentistry, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
European Journal Of Oral Sciences (Impact Factor: 1.73). 06/2010; 118(3):254-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0722.2010.00727.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Luoto A, Tolvanen M, Rantavuori K, Pohjola V, Lahti S. Can parents and children evaluate each other’s dental fear? Eur J Oral Sci 2010; 118: 254–258. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 Eur J Oral Sci
The aim of this study was to determine whether parents and their 11–16-yr-old children can evaluate each other’s dental fear. At baseline the participants were 11–12-yr-old children from the Finnish Cities of Pori (n = 1,691) and Rauma (n = 807), and one of their parents. The children and their parents were asked if they or their family members were afraid of dental care. Fears were assessed using single 5-point Likert-scale questions that included a ‘do not know’ option. Children and parents answered the questionnaire independently of each other. Background variables were the child’s and their parent’s gender. Parents’ and children’s knowledge of each other’s dental fear was evaluated with kappa statistics and with sensitivity and specificity statistics using dichotomized fear variables. All kappa values were < 0.42. When dental fear among children and parents was evaluated, all sensitivities varied between 0.10 and 0.39, and all specificities varied between 0.93 and 0.99. Evaluating dental fear among fearful children and parents, the sensitivities varied between 0.17 and 0.50 and the specificities varied between 0.85 and 0.94, respectively. Parents and children could not recognize each other’s dental fear. Therefore, parents and children cannot be used as reliable proxies for determining each other’s dental fear.

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    • "The children in grades 1 and 2 filled the forms at home with the help of their parents which makes the results more reliable for them. Even if parents may not be aware of their children's fear [10], they can be expected to know about 1st and 2nd graders tooth brushing habits. A deficiency of this study is also the lack of IDs of the respondents which hinders comparing results on the survey in 2009 and 2010 at individual basis, as well as having information on attendance in oral health promotion program at individual basis. "
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