Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Stephanie Felgoise, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Susan Panichelli Mindel, PhD

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Gosch, PhD, ABPP

Third Advisor

Cynthia Pattison, DMD


Pediatric dental fear and anxiety is common, yet there is limited research in this area. Childhood dental anxiety may create challenges for children, parents, and dentists. Parents’ dental anxiety may contribute and maintain children’s dental anxiety. This purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between parent and child dental anxiety and parents’ perceptions of their children’s dental anxiety. This study also investigated parent accommodation in relation to children’s dental anxiety, as well as children’s views of their parents’ anxiety. Further, this study examined the relationship between dental procedures and children’s dental anxiety. This cross-sectional study included a total of 74 parent-child dyads recruited from two pediatric dental offices in New Jersey. Findings revealed that parents recognized dental anxiety in their children, and children were aware of their parents’ accommodation behaviors. Results demonstrated a significant relationship between parent and child dental anxiety (p < .001), as well as between parent accommodation and parent report of child’s dental anxiety (p < .001). Parents viewed previous dental procedures as a contributor to their children’s dental anxiety, whereas children did not. It is imperative to understand factors that contribute to children’s dental anxiety, as this is a common concern that has long-term oral health consequences. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons