Dental anxiety in Danish and Chinese adults-A cross-cultural perspective

Eli Schwarz, Herluf Birn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to correlate dental anxiety as reported by two different ethnic groups with socio-demographic factors, dental status, and dental behaviour. Two randomly selected populations aged 35-44 years and 65-74 years were interviewed. The populations comprised 214 and 99 Danes and 384 and 497 Hong Kong Chinese respectively. Dental anxiety was assessed by the Corah Dental Anxiety Score (DAS). Mean DAS scores were significantly higher in Chinese than in Danes (8.7-10.3 and 6.7-8.2, respectively) and higher in the younger than in the older groups. Moderate to phobic dental anxiety was reported by 15% of the Danes and 30% of the Chinese, the latter proportion far beyond what is usually reported in Western populations. Only in the Chinese group did women report more anxiety than men. Regression analysis indicated that only a few of the variables selected to explain anxiety determinants had significant explanatory value. Among Chinese, gender was the most predominant in both age groups followed by perceived condition of teeth in the younger age group. Among Danes, perceived condition of teeth had an explanatory value for both age groups and dental visit pattern was the strongest for the younger age group. In spite of statistical significance, all explanatory values were small and indicate that variables not included in this analysis may exert a greater influence on the variation in dental anxiety. DAS, seemingly, was able to highlight variations in dental anxiety in the populations in spite of their differences and made interpretations feasible with regard to contrasting dental care behaviour and dental status. Further study of especially the cultural and cross-cultural aspects of dental anxiety should be conducted to broaden the understanding of dental behaviour in contrasting populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • attitudes
  • dental anxiety
  • dental health surveys
  • knowledge
  • practices
  • regression analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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