Child rearing styles, dental anxiety and disruptive behaviour; an exploratory study

  • J. B. KrikkenEmail author
  • J. S. J. Veerkamp


Aim: This was to explore the relation between children’s dental anxiety, their behaviour during treatment and their parent’s rearing style. Also the parents’ preparation of the child for dental treatment was related to behaviour and parental rearing style. Methods: The parents of 100 children, referred to a secondary dental care clinic were asked to fill out the Child Rearing Practices Report (CRPR), the Child Fear Survey Schedule (CFSS) and an additional questionnaire on child preparation prior to dental treatment on behalf of their child. Four rearing styles were constructed by using the results of the Nurturance and the Restrictiveness domain of the CRPR. Dentists were asked to assess the behaviour of the child during dental familiarisation and dental treatment using the Venham scale. The dentists were unaware of the child’s CFSS score. Parents were not present during actual dental treatment. Results: Each child’s dental anxiety was related to their behaviour displayed during dental treatment. Highly anxious children showed more disruptive behaviour than their low anxious counterparts did, especially during familiarisation. Parental rearing style was neither related to child dental anxiety prior to or to behaviour during dental treatment. Parents who used a permissive rearing style were less likely to tell their children that the dentist will not hurt them compared with authoritarian parents. Parents with an authoritative rearing style were more convinced that the behaviour of their child could be managed by the dentist than parents with a permissive and neglectful rearing style. After their children’s dental rehabilitation parents were less inclined to accompany their child during treatment. Conclusions: Dental anxiety correlated positively with the behaviour displayed during treatment. No relation was found between parenting style and dental anxiety and behaviour during treatment. Parents showed more confidence in the child-dentist dyad after the rehabilitation of their child’s teeth.

Key words

rearing style dental anxiety behaviour 


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Copyright information

© Adis Internationals 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. Cariology, Endodontology, PedodontologyACTAAmsterdamthe Netherlands

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