Maternal Influences on Pediatric Dental Anxiety: Exploring the Link Between Mothers' Mental Health, Self-esteem, and Children's Fear and Anxiety during Dental Treatments

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, Khatam University



Children's fear and anxiety associated with dental treatment have been identified as important factors impacting their oral health and compliance with treatment. Although many studies have focused on individual factors influencing a child's experience, the role of parental well-being, particularly maternal, is under-explored. The mental health and self-esteem of mothers can influence their child's emotional and behavioral response to dental treatment, given the close emotional interaction between children and their primary caregivers. This study aimed at investigating mothers’ mental health and self-esteem and children’s fear and anxiety during dental treatment. This is descriptive correlational research. The statistical population included all mothers who took their children to dentistry centers in districts 4,12, and 14 in Tehran in 2022. The current study was conducted on 120 mothers and children who visited medical centers for dental treatment using a random cluster sampling. GHO questionnaire, Eysenck’s Personality Questionnaire, and Children’s Dental Fear Test were used. To answer the research hypotheses multiple regression and Pearson correlation coefficient were used. The obtained results from multiple regression and Pearson correlation coefficient indicated that the relationship between mothers’ anxiety, depression, and self-esteem and the criterion variable ( dental fear) was 0.41. The findings showed that a mother’s mental health and self-esteem play an effective role in children’s anxiety and fear during dental treatment. Therefore, by using the necessary mechanisms to improve mothers’ mental health and self-esteem, we can hope for improving children’s oral health.