Temporomandibular disorder pain is related to the general disposition to be anxious

Daniel R Reissmann, Mike T John, Hartwig Seedorf, Stephan Doering, Oliver Schierz
Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache 2014, 28 (4): 322-30

AIMS: To assess whether trait anxiety as a person's general disposition to be anxious is a risk factor for temporomandibular disorder (TMD) pain.

METHODS: A total of 320 adult TMD patients with at least one pain-related TMD diagnosis according to the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (RDC/TMD) were included in the study. Subjects from the general population without pain-related TMD were used as controls (n = 888). All study participants completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). The association between the level of trait anxiety (STAI-Trait scores) and case-control status (patients diagnosed with pain-related TMD and controls) was analyzed using logistic regression analysis. Odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed.

RESULTS: The level of trait anxiety was associated with the subject status (case vs control). A one-point increase in STAI-Trait sum scores (range: 20 to 80) was related to an increase of the odds for pain-related TMD by the factor 1.04 (CI: 1.02-1.05; P < .001). Severe trait anxiety (above the 90th percentile of general-population subjects) doubled the odds (OR: 2.05; CI: 1.42-2.98; P < .001). Analyses adjusted for age, gender, and level of education did not change the results.

CONCLUSION: Trait anxiety is significantly associated with diagnoses of TMD pain.

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