Treatment of dental anxiety by cue-controlled relaxation

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The consequences of high dental anxiety may include decreased patient cooperation or the avoidance of dental care. Drug therapy may be contraindicated or may produce undesirable side effects. 10 adult women, self-referred for dental anxiety, were given 4 wks of cue-controlled relaxation treatment. Nonorthogonal planned comparisons indicated significant pre- to posttreatment decreases on the Dental Anxiety Scale, the Anxiety Differential, and the State Anxiety scale, and systolic blood pressure; these persisted at the follow-up testing 4 wks later. Some evidence was found to suggest that there may have been some generalization of effect beyond just the dental setting. In a 6-mo follow-up, 8 of 9 participants contacted reported that the treatment had been helpful in controlling their anxiety when visiting their dentist. Some implications for the practice of counseling and further research are mentioned. (12 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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