Exploring the associations between somatization and dental fear and dental visiting

Jason M. Armfield, Vesa Pohjola, Matti Joukamaa, Aino K. Mattila, Anna L. Suominen, Satu M. Lahti

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11 Citations (Scopus)


While somatization has been investigated as an important variable in relation to excessive health-service utilization, its role in relation to dental visiting and dental fear has received limited attention. It was hypothesized that an excessive focus on physical symptoms might lead somatizers to experience dental treatment as more traumatic, resulting in greater dental fear. The aims of this study were to determine whether somatization was associated with dental fear, reduced dental visiting, and symptomatic visiting. Questionnaire data were collected from 5,806 dentate Finnish adults, with somatization measured using 12 items from the Symptom Check List (SCL-90). Dental fear was measured using a single-item question and dental visiting was assessed by questions relating to time since last dental visit and the usual reason for dental visiting. Multinomial logistic regression analyses indicated that somatization has a statistically significant positive association with both dental fear and symptomatic dental visiting after controlling for age, gender, and education. However, the association between dental-visiting frequency and somatization was not statistically significant. The results were consistent with the hypothesized role of somatization in the development of dental fear. Further investigation of how somatization is related to dental fear and dental-service utilization appears warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-293
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Oral Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011


  • Anxiety
  • Dental fear
  • Dental visiting
  • Somatization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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