Maladaptive coping strategies in patients with bruxism compared to non-bruxing controls

Christine Schneider, Ralf Schaefer, Michelle A Ommerborn, Maria Giraki, Alexandra Goertz, Wolfgang H-M Raab, Matthias Franz
International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 2007, 14 (4): 257-61

BACKGROUND: Sleep bruxism is the non-functional grinding or clenching of teeth during sleep. It may lead to tooth damage and myofascial pain. Although stress is discussed as a main causal agent, there is a lack of studies concerning coping strategies in patients with sleep bruxism.

PURPOSE: The aim of the present study was to investigate whether bruxers, compared to non-bruxing individuals, apply maladaptive coping strategies.

METHOD: Seventy-five sleep bruxers and 38 non-bruxers were selected by dental examination and tested by a German coping questionnaire (SVF78).

RESULTS: A significant difference in positive coping strategies was observed between the two groups. Bruxers reported less positive coping strategies, mainly less "reaction control" and "positive self-instructions." In general, males reported less negative coping strategies.

CONCLUSION: The reported effects demonstrate a deficit of functional coping strategies in bruxers, whereas strategies that enhance stress do not seem to be associated with sleep bruxism. Findings do not admit the conclusion that there is a causal association of maladaptive coping and bruxism. However, they support the approach of a multidisciplinary therapy involving psychological treatment.

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