Australian population norms for the Index of Dental Anxiety and Fear (IDAF-4C)

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Background: The Index of Dental Anxiety and Fear (IDAF-4C) is a theoretically derived test developed to allow clinicians and researchers to measure a person's level of dental fear. Population norms have not previously been made available for the IDAF-4C. The aim of this study was to provide Australian norms for the IDAF-4C using percentile ranks and to examine associations between scores and individual-level characteristics, dental avoidance and fear of pain. Methods: A stratified random sample of 1511 Australian adults yielded complete questionnaire data for 1063 individuals (70.4%). Percentile ranks were calculated for IDAF-4C full scale scores stratified by age and gender. Results: IDAF-4C mean scores varied significantly by age, gender, income, and speaking a language other than English at home. Tables to convert raw scores to percentiles showed that full scale scores varied by age and gender. Scores on the IDAF-4C had strong and significant associations with avoidance of the dentist due to fear, average dental visiting frequency and anxiety about pain when going to the dentist. Conclusions: Population norms allow clinicians or researchers to compare results for an individual or subgroup to the Australian population. It is recommended that a dental fear scale be used to screen all dental patients for dental fear to enable a more tailored and effective dental treatment experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Dental Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Dental anxiety
  • Fear
  • Population norms
  • Scale construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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