Psychological distress and self-perception of oral health status among an immigrant population from Ethiopia

Yuval Vered*, Avi Zini, Harold D. Sgan-Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. To examine the association between psychological distress (PD) and perception of oral health status among a group of Ethiopian immigrants compared to the 'gold standard' of clinical diagnosis. Design. Three hundred and forty Ethiopian immigrants, aged 18 years or more, were interviewed using a version of the Self-Reporting Questionnaire (World Health Organization) for the assessment of psychological status and perceived dental and periodontal health status. Clinical data for dental and periodontal health status were used as the 'gold standard' against the self-perceived assessment scores among the PD and no psychological distress (NPD) groups. These were compared for sensitivity and specificity. Results. One hundred and thirty-five subjects (40%) presented PD. Seventy-eight percent of the PD subjects reported a negative dental health status, as compared to 42% of the NPD subjects. Seventy-three percent of the PD subjects reported a negative periodontal health status, as compared to 44% of the NPD subjects (p>0.001). The sensitivity for self-perceived dental health status among the PD subjects was found to be 0.78 and the specificity was found to be 0.40, as compared to 0.59 and 0.69, respectively, among the NPD subjects (p>0.001). The sensitivity for self-perceived periodontal health status among the PD subjects was found to be 0.78 and the specificity was found to be 0.40, as compared to 0.59 and 0.58, respectively, among the NPD subjects (p>0.001). Conclusion. Results demonstrate that PD may modify self-perception of health status. Self-perceived health and disease should be an integral element in the continuum of professional clinical health assessment and subsequent health care planning. The relevance of PD is evident in this immigrant ethnic group and should be considered and further studied in other at-risk minority communities.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)643-652
Number of pages10
JournalEthnicity and Health
Volume14
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Health
  • Immigration
  • Oral health
  • Psychological distress
  • Self-perception

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