Objective To explore the relationship between psychological distress and traumatic dental injuries (TDI) among adolescents.
Methods Phase 3 of Research with East London Adolescents Community Health Survey (RELACHS) collected data in a representative sample of 15–16-year-old adolescents in 2005. RELACHS is a longitudinal secondary school-based epidemiological study that followed up pupils aged 11–12 years in 2001 and 13–14 years in 2003. Adolescents provided information on their demographic characteristics (sex, age and ethnicity), socioeconomic position (parental employment and car ownership), family structure and psychological distress (using the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire, SDQ). The SDQ contains 25 items equally divided into five subscales: hyperactivity, emotional problems, conduct problems, peer problems and pro-social behaviour. Participants were also clinically examined for TDI, overjet and type of lip coverage. Logistic regression models were fitted to test the associations of SDQ and each subscale with TDI.
Results 975 adolescents participated in the study (67.2% response rate), of whom 886 had information on relevant variables (56.8% females and 74.5% non-White). The prevalence of psychological distress and TDI were 10% and 16%, respectively. In regression models, being a high scorer on the SDQ was positively related to having TDI (OR: 2.02, 95% CI 1.11 to 3.70) after adjustment for demographic characteristics, socioeconomic position, family structure and oral clinical characteristics. Analysis by subscales showed that only having peer problems was significantly related to having TDI after adjustment for confounders (OR: 2.18; 95% CI 1.09 to 4.34).
Conclusion Psychological distress and especially peer problems play an important role in the occurrence of TDI in adolescents.
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