According to a release from Platforma SINC, a new study suggests the emotional transmission of dentist fear among family members and analyzes the different roles that mothers and fathers might play.

The study was conducted by scientists at the Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid. As indicated in the release, previous studies had already identified the association between the fear levels of parents and their children, but they never explored the different roles that the father and the mother play in this phenomenon.

América Lara Sacido, one of the authors of the study explains that "along with the presence of emotional transmission of dentist fear among family members, we have identified the relevant role that fathers play in transmission of this phobia in comparison to the mother."

The study is published in the "International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry” and analyzed 183 children between seven and 12 years-years-old and their parents in Madrid. The results were in line with previous studies that found that fear levels among fathers, mothers and children are linked.

The authors confirmed that the higher the level of dentist fear or anxiety in one family member, the higher the level in the rest of the family. The study also reveals that fathers play a key role in the transmission of dentist fear from mothers to their children as they act as a mediating variable.

"Although the results should be interpreted with due caution, children seem to mainly pay attention to the emotional reactions of the fathers when deciding if situations at the dentist are potentially stressful," states Lara Sacido.

Material provided by AlphaGalileo Foundation. Journal reference: America Lara-Sacido, Antonio Crego and Martin Romero-Maroto. “Emotional contagion of dental fear to children: the father’s mediating role in parental transfer of fear.” International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, 2012; 22:324-330.