A Novel Way of Measuring Dental Phobia in Young Individuals
Objectives: Recent research has shown that dental phobia (DP) can be successfully treated using Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Phobias are usually measured by administering the Behavioral Approach Test (BAT). However, administering the BAT in a dentist-setting requires extensive time and staff-resources. The picture-guided version of the behavioral approach test (PG-BAT) is a novel, resource-effective way to measure DP. The current study aims to evaluate the psychometric properties of the PG-BAT.
Methods: The PG-BAT was developed to be as similar to the regular BAT as possible, except using pictures of situations (e.g. picture of a child receiving local anesthesia) instead of actually exposing to situations. The sample consist of n=50 children and adolescents, recruited at a dentist clinic in Stockholm. To explore the psychometric properties of the PG-BAT, participants will first complete the PG-BAT at home, then once again at the clinic to allow measures of test-retest reliability. Furthermore, the PG-BAT will also be completed by a parent to each patient. After completing the PG-BAT at the clinic, participants will complete the regular BAT. Participants’ scores on the PG-BAT and regular BAT will be compared.
Results: According to data accumulated in a sample from this study and another ongoing study, both the child and parental versions of the test have shown good internal reliability (Cronbach’s α of 0.88 respective 0.86, n=26) and validity (significant positive association between the instruments with clinician conducted face-to-face BAT; r=0.68, n=36; p<.001 for the child version respectively r=0.75, n=37; p<.001 for the parent version).
Conclusions: Given adequate psychometric properties, the PG-BAT will benefit both patients and clinicians. Patients can take the PG-BAT at any computer connected to the internet, and clinicians can receive patient diagnostics before the meeting the patient. Ultimately, the utilization of a PG-BAT could improve assessment methods, reduce costs for assessment and enhance patient satisfaction.