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The Prevalence of Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disorders in African Americans


concerning this article should be addressed to Robert J. Gatchel, Department of Psychology, College of Science, The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019-0528, USA. E-mail:


Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJMD) prevalence studies have predominantly evaluated the U.S. general population, for which Caucasians make up the majority of the subjects. With the growing levels of minority populations in the United States, it is important to estimate the prevalence of TMJMD in African Americans, relative to the U.S. general population. Therefore, we administered a survey regarding acute jaw pain symptoms to a sample of 274 participants. The results revealed a TMJMD prevalence of 22.3% for all participants, 25.3% for women, 16% for men (X2(1, n = 158) = 7.097, p = .008). TMJMD prevalence in African Americans was 22%, while that for Caucasians was 22.5% (X2(1, n = 118) = .039, p = .843). Most importantly, there were differences in the distribution of the 21 TMJMD symptoms of our survey between African Americans and Caucasians. Thus, even though TMJMD prevalence rates between African Americans and Caucasians were different but not significant, there were significant differences in some of the 21 TMJMD symptoms, suggesting that researchers and clinicians may want to consider evaluating these racial group differences in developing the most effective treatment plans for them.