While the psychological literature shows that perceptions of uncontrollability contribute to anxiety and other pathologies,
interventions that enhance perceived control have been shown to reduce anxiety. This study attempted to assess a brief videotape to
enhance child perceived control in a dental setting.
101 children aged 7-9 years completed warm-up procedures and
viewed either: a) the experimental intervention, a 2 minutes video of a dentist explaining what an injection will feel like and proposing
hand raising as a signal mechanism; or b) the control condition, a 2 minutes video of Disneyland. Fear of dental injections was assessed
on a 10 cm visual analogue scale before and after the intervention.
In the experimental group there was a significant fear
reduction from pre- to post-intervention, while this was not the case in the control group. Children with higher pre-existing levels of fear
benefited more from the intervention than children with lower levels of fear.
The results of this pilot study suggest that
intervention packages that impact child control have promise in lowering anxiety.
Vol.4 – n.4/2003
Harvard: P. Weinstein, M. Raadal, S. Naidu, T. Yoshida, G. Kvale, P. Milgrom (2003) "A videotaped intervention to enhance child control and reduce anxiety of the pain of dental injections", European Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, 4(4), pp181-185. doi:
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