Date of Award

Spring 1997

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene

Committee Director

Michele L. Darby

Committee Member

Lynn Tolle-Watts

Committee Member

Deborah Bauman

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.D46 S46


The purpose of this investigation was to determine if procedural explanation, given during dental hygiene care, significantly reduces client anxiety. The sample consisted of 62 subjects selected randomly from the population of all current clients, with records dating from 1994 to the present, of a private general dental practice in Virginia Beach, Virginia. A randomized subjects, pretest-posttest design was used to determine ii if procedural explanation yields a significant reduction in client anxiety as opposed to no such explanation during treatment procedures, measured by the Mann-Whitney U test and Wilcoxon matched-pairs tests. The Dental Hygiene Fear Survey served as the test instrument. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to determine statistically significant differences between the groups on overall anxiety and on its four dimensions: fear of specific stimuli, distrust, generalized anxiety, and fear of catastrophe. Results indicated no statistically significant differences between the two groups on each of the four subscales and the overall scale score, The Wilcoxon matched-pairs test also was used to determine statistically significant differences within the groups on overall anxiety and its four dimensions as listed above. Results showed a statistically significant difference in anxiety levels in both experimental and control groups at posttest, indicating that procedural explanation itself did not have a significant effect on anxiety levels in the experimental group. Sociodemographic variables analyzed using the Chi-Square test and t-test for independent samples resulted in no significant differences between the experimental and control groups on the variables sex and age.

Results indicated that procedural explanation reduced anxiety in those participants who experienced a high level of anxiety prior to dental hygiene care, but did not have an effect on those who experienced low or no anxiety prior to dental hygiene care. Individual items (i.e., fainting, choking, worry about the dental hygienist hurting me) were significantly affected by procedural explanation; anxiety levels concerning these items were significantly lower at posttest. All tests were conducted at the .05 alpha level of significance.


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