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Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Children and Adolescents With Dental Anxiety: Open Trial
Karolinska Institutet.
Karolinska Institutet.
Karolinska Institutet.
Stockholm University.
Show others and affiliations
2018 (English)In: Journal of Medical Internet Research, ISSN 1438-8871, E-ISSN 1438-8871, Vol. 20, no 1, p. e12-Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based method for treating specific phobias, but access to treatment is difficult, especially for children and adolescents with dental anxiety. Psychologist-guided Internet-based CBT (ICBT) may be an effective way of increasing accessibility while maintaining treatment effects.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that psychologist-guided ICBT improves school-aged children's and adolescents' ability to manage dental anxiety by (1) decreasing avoidance and affecting the phobia diagnosis and (2) decreasing the dentalfear and increasing the target groups' self-efficacy. The study also aimed to examine the feasibility and acceptability of this novel treatment.

METHODS:

This was an open, uncontrolled trial with assessments at baseline, posttreatment, and the 1-year follow-up. The study enrolled and treated 18 participants. The primary outcome was level of avoidance behaviors, as measured by the picture-guided behavioral avoidance test (PG-BAT). The secondary outcome was a diagnostic evaluation with the parents conducted by a psychologist. The specific phobia section of the structured interview Kiddie-Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children-Present and Lifetime (K-SADS-PL) was used. Other outcome measures included level of dental anxiety and self-efficacy. The ICBT, which employed exposure therapy, comprised 12 modules of texts, animations, dentistry-related video clips, and an exercise package (including dental instruments). Participants accessed the treatment through an Internet-based treatment platform and received Web-based guidance from a psychologist. Treatment also included training at dental clinics. Feasibility and acceptability were assessed by measures of engagement, adherence, compliance, completed measures, patient and parent satisfaction scale, and staff acceptability.

RESULTS:

The level of avoidance (according to the primary outcome measure PG-BAT) and dental anxiety decreased and self-efficacy increased significantly (P<.001), within-group effect sizes for both the primary outcome (Cohen d=1.5), and other outcomes were large in the range of 0.9 and 1.5. According to K-SADS-PL, 53% (8/15) of the participants were free from diagnosable dental anxiety at the 1-year follow-up. At the 1-year follow-up, improvements were maintained and clinically significant, with 60% (9/15) of participants who had been unable to manage intraoral injection of local anesthetics before ICBT reporting having accomplished this task at a dental clinic. The target group showed improvement in all the outcome measures. High levels of feasibility and acceptability were observed for the treatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

ICBT is a promising and feasible treatment for dental anxiety in children and adolescents. Integrating it into routine pediatric dental care would increase access to an effective psychological treatment. The results of this open trial must be replicated in controlled studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 20, no 1, p. e12-
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Social Sciences, Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-73910DOI: 10.2196/jmir.7803PubMedID: 29358158OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-73910DiVA, id: diva2:1203844
Available from: 2018-05-04 Created: 2018-05-04 Last updated: 2018-05-08Bibliographically approved

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Kaldo, Viktor

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