Background: Dental anxiety is associated with negative experiences of dental treatment and dental-visiting behavior. The Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS) is widely used for assessing dental anxiety. The study aims to establish the psychometric properties of a Chinese version of the MDAS based on the Taiwan sample (i.e., T-MDAS). Methods: The T-MDAS and dental-visiting behavior and experience were assessed for 402 adult subjects recruited from community and clinical sites. The following psychometric properties were assessed: (a) internal consistency, (b) temporal stability, (c) criterion-related validity (i.e., the association with the score of Index of Dental Anxiety and Fear, IDAF-4C), (d) discrimination validity (i.e., the difference in scores between the subjects with and without a habit of a regular dental visit, and (e) the construct validity from a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Results. The T-MDAS showed good internal consistency (Cronbach’s α = 0.88) and temporal stability (ρ = 0.69, p < 0.001). The score was significantly correlated with the score of the IDAF-4C (ρ = 0.76, p < 0.001) and differed between subjects who regularly visited a dentist or not, supporting good criterion-related validity and discrimination validity. Results from CFA supports good construct validity. Furthermore, higher dental anxiety was related to the lack of a regular dental visit, feeling pain during treatment, and feeling insufficient skills and empathy of dentists. A higher proportion of high-dental anxiety subjects in female subjects (8.5%), compared to male subjects (5.0%), was noted. Conclusions: The T-MDAS is a valid tool for assessing adult dental anxiety. The score is highly associated with dental-visiting behavior and experience of dental patients.
- Dental anxiety
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