Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Daniel W McNeil


Research suggests mood can influence recall of emotionally-relevant information. Yet, despite multiple studies examining the association of anxiety and exaggerated prediction and recall of dental pain, the influence of other moods on prediction and recall of dental pain remains poorly investigated. Further, the potential moderation and mediation effects for dental fear, fear of pain, and mood state have not been properly researched. The present study investigated variables associated with predicted pain (pain expected during the dental procedure) and recalled pain in oral surgery patients. Data were provided by a sample of 157 patients undergoing tooth extraction under local anesthetic. Patients completed measures of depression, anxiety, and negative affect both at the time of surgery and at a 1-month follow-up. Dental fear and fear of pain also were assessed prior to extraction. Path analysis was used to examine relations among variables, including mediation effects of mood state between dental fear or fear of pain and report of pain; moderation effects of dental fear and fear of pain on report of pain were examined using regression equations. The best fitting models suggested mood prior to extraction was related to current pain prior to extraction (beta = .18--.23), but not predicted or recalled pain. Dental fear, however, was related to predicted pain (beta = .25--.26). Predicted pain was associated with recalled pain and also influenced recalled pain through its relation with pain during extraction. In a final exploratory model, the influence of negative affect on current pain became non-significant when accounting for the influence of anxiety and depression. Additionally, fewer prior extractions and shorter duration of dental pain prior to extraction were associated with more predicted pain; greater chronic pain rating and injection of an additional anesthetic were related to more recalled pain. Dental fear proved a theoretically and clinically relevant construct in the oral surgery context, especially in relation to prediction of pain; reduction of dental fear may reduce aversive experiences and report of pain during dental procedures. Future research should clarify more specific relations between mood and pain over time, including patterns of change or stability.