This report is based on a thesis submitted by the first author (formerly Robin A. Fleischer), under supervision of the second author, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts degree at the University of Iowa.
Distraction, Control, and Dental Stress1
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 21, Issue 2, pages 156–171, January 1991
How to Cite
Anderson, R. A., Baron, R. and Logan, H. (1991), Distraction, Control, and Dental Stress. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 21: 156–171. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1991.tb00494.x
We would like to thank dentists Dan Chan and Jiten Sheth, dental assistants Cathy Skotowski and Carolyn Morrison and Sue Ellen Salisbury, receptionist. Very special thanks go to those who assisted in data collection: Jim Dlouhy, Toni Wirtz, and Carolyn Dillard, who also provided insightful comments along the way. Additional thanks go to our friends from various record companies who generously donated tapes for this study.
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
This study examined the efficacy of external distraction as a coping strategy. Thirty-eight dental patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: incidental music during the dental procedure, music coupled with suggestions that music would help reduce stress, or a no-treatment control group. Patients in both music groups reported experiencing less stress (i.e., less pain. less discomfort, more control) than patients in the no-treatment group. Patient ratings made by dentists, blind to condition, provided converging evidence for the therapeutic effect of distraction. Thus, distracting music was found to be effective in reducing stress and increasing perceptions of control. The relative ease and simplicity of implementing external distraction compared to manipulating actual control in a medical setting may make this manipulation attractive to professionals involved with individuals experiencing stress.