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Psychometric Testing of the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale among Iranian Adolescents during COVID-19 Pandemic


Abstract: (1) Background: The present study aimed to examine the psychometric properties of the Persian adaptation of the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS) in Iranian adolescents. (2) Methods: Adolescents with a mean age of 15.10 (n = 3197; 47.1% males) were recruited from Qazvin city of Iran using a stratified cluster random sampling technique. All children completed the five-item Persian MDAS and information related to background characteristics. Psychometric testing was conducted using classical test theory (CTT) and Rasch models. For CTT, an item-total correlation of >0.4 was considered satisfactory while for Rasch analysis, infit and outfit mean squares (Mnsq) ranging from 0.5–1.5 were considered satisfactory. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was conducted to confirm the unidimensional structure of MDAS using various fit indices. Differential item functioning (DIF) was evaluated based on gender and time since last dental visit. Moreover, latent class analysis (LCA) was used to classify the participants into different levels of dental fear based on their pattern of responses. Both item level reliability using Cronbachs alpha (α) and test-reliability using intraclass correlation coefficients were evaluated. (3) Results: Item-total correlations ranged from 0.69–0.78, infit MnSq ranged from 0.80 to 1.11 and the range of outfit MnSq was 0.84–1.10. The data confirmed a one-factor structure of MDAS with satisfactory fit indices. DIF analysis indicated that the scale was interpreted similarly across the genders and time since dental visit groups. LCA analysis identified three levels, low, moderate and high levels of dental anxiety. The groups with moderate and high levels of dental anxiety had more females (44.6% and 36.7%) than the group with low level of dental anxiety (18.8%; p< 0.001). α of the total scale was 0.89 and item test-retest reliability ranged from 0.72–0.86. (4) Conclusions: The Persian MDAS was unidimensional with satisfactory psychometric properties evaluated using both CTT and Rasch analysis among Iranian adolescents. The scale was stable across the genders and individuals with different dental visiting patterns. The Persian MDAS also demonstrated excellent reliability.
Keywords: adolescent / dental anxiety / dental fear / Iran / psychometric properties

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