Reliability and Validity of Scales for Assessing Child Dental Fear and Anxiety.Acta Stomatol Croat. 2020 Mar; 54(1):22-31.AS
Children with high dental anxiety display uncooperative behavior during dental procedures. Different self-assessment questionnaires are in use to estimate the prevalence of dental fear and anxiety (DFA) in children but they need to be tested for reliability and validity in different populations.
The aim of this study was to test the reliability and validity of two scales for the assessment of child dental fear and anxiety in a sample of Croatian children.
Material and Methods
The sample comprised 202 pairs consisting of children and their mothers (97 boys and 105 girls) aged 5 - 12 years. Two scales were used to assess children's DFA: the Children's Fear Survey Schedule - Dental Subscale (CFSS-DS) and the Modified Child Dental Anxiety Scale - face version (MCDAS-f). The Corah's Dental Anxiety Scale (CDAS) was used in the sample of children's mothers. The average scores of cooperative children and children with behavior management problem (BMP) were compared.
Cooperative children displayed significantly lower CFSS-DS scores than children with BMP (M = 28. 46 vs. M = 39. 36; P < 0.001). The average MCDAS-f score was significantly higher in children with BMP than in cooperative children (M = 28. 07 vs. 20. 01; P < 0.001). The CFSS-DS showed high internal consistency (Cronbach's α = 0. 90), while internal consistency of MCDAS-f was good (α = 0. 73). The maternal CDAS showed good internal consistency (α = 0, 89). The correlations with other self-report measurements of DFS show good validity of all scales. The correlations between CFSS-DS and MCDAS-f were highly significant (r = 0.482; P < 0. 01) as well as the correlations of CFSS-DS and MCDAS-f with CDAS scores (r = 0.223; P < 0. 01 and r = 0.198; P < 0. 01, respectively.
The obtained results suggest that both the CFSS-DS scale and the MCDAS-f scale are reliable and valid scales for measuring dental fear and anxiety in children in a sample of Croatian children. The MCDAS-f scale has shown slightly lower internal consistency but it is suitable for use in young children. In addition, the MCDAS-f scale is simple to administer.