Date of Graduation


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Cheryl B. McNeil

Committee Member

Daniel W. McNeil

Committee Member

Christa L. Lilly

Committee Member

Christopher K. Owen


A key element that must be addressed when striving for good overall health is positive oral health practices that begin early in life (AAPD; 2013, 2014). Unfortunately, two major difficulties are commonly faced by dental providers who try to implement these positive oral health practices in young children: dental fear and behavior management problems. The current study aimed to examine how the natural interactions that occur between a dental provider and child patient may be related to child dental fear and behavior. Dental appointments for 36 children under the age of six years old were examined, and verbal and behavioral interactions between the dental provider and child were coded. Analyses were then run to compare these behavioral codes to the Children’s Fear Survey Schedule-Dental Subscale (CFSS-DS; Cuthbert & Melamed, 1982) and the Frankl Behavior Rating Scale (Frankl; Frankl, Shiere, & Fogels, 1962). Interestingly, a significant correlation was found between the CFSS-DS and the Frankl, indicating a strong association between the participants who were dentally fearful and those who displayed challenging behaviors during their appointment. Additionally, significant differences in the use of four behavioral codes existed between dentists and dental hygienists. However, no significant relationships were found between the behavioral codes and the Frankl. These findings suggest that future efforts should be aimed at reducing both child dental fear and behavioral management problems, due to their interconnected nature, in order to improve the early dental experiences, and overall well-being, of children.


Part of a larger study - NIDCR/NIH R21 DE026540

Included in

Psychology Commons