The aim was to study self-image and the level of psychological symptoms in patients with symptoms attributed to their dental restorative materials.
A questionnaire containing questions regarding dental and medical history was answered by 257 participants, one group with local oral symptoms only (LSO), and one group with multi-symptoms (M-S). A reference group was randomly selected from a research database at the Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Sweden. The self-image was assessed using the Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (SASB). Psychological symptoms such as somatization, depression, and anxiety were assessed using the Symptom Check List 90 (SCL-90) and the Global Severity Index (GSI) was used to determine the level of psychological symptoms.
SASB showed that the M-S group and the LSO-group scored significantly higher on the "spontaneous" and "positive self-image" than the reference group. In the SCL-90, the M-S group scored significantly higher than the LSO-group and the references on the somatization subscales. On depression, anxiety, and the GSI scale, the M-S group scored significantly higher than the reference group.
The two subgroups scored significantly higher on the SASB Spontaneous and Positive clusters which indicates that these patients have an excessively positive self-image, are very spontaneous and have an overconfidence in themselves compared to the reference group. In the M-S group there was a clear tendency to somatization, depression, and anxiety and they were more psychologically stressed than the reference group.
Among the patients with illness attributed to their dental materials, the M-S-patients had a significantly higher level of general psychological distress and somatization than the control group which may lead to mental stress.