The purpose of this study was to describe the possible factors that may affect dental anxiety and beliefs and to validate and test the psychometric properties of the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS) and a Modified Dental Beliefs Scale (MDBS) among the patients attending a university dental clinic in India. A cross-sectional study design was used. A total of 482 general dental patients attending a university dental clinic returned completed forms of the Indian translations of the MDAS and MDBS. General information about the age, sex, occupation and educational qualifications of the respondents as well as information about past dental experiences was also collected. All the statistical analysis was carried out by the spss (version 10) statistical software package. The Indian translations of the MDAS and the MDBS were found to be internally reliable with a Cronbach's alpha of 0·78 and 0·85, respectively. Validity was demonstrated by a statistically significant correlation between the MDAS and the MDBS scores with the correlation coefficient of 0·47. Age was also inversely related to dental anxiety. Anxiety scores were higher among the less educated patients. Those who had a prior unpleasant dental experience showed higher dental anxiety and more negative dental beliefs. The data obtained in this study provided strong evidence for the psychometric properties of the Indian version of the MDAS and the MDBS.
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