Anxiety and Ability to Recognize Clinical Information in Dentistry
Stress significantly affects a person's cognitive ability to process information. Therefore, we hypothesized that patients' ability to recognize information related to the procedure they are about to undergo will be affected by the stressfulness of the situation (less recognition under a high-stress situation as compared with a low-stress situation).Patients (n = 66) were evaluated for their ability to recognize clinical information supplied on two different occasions: immediately before oral surgery (high-stress condition) and before suture removal (low-stress condition). Dental and state of anxiety and expectation of pain were also assessed. On both occasions, the patients' ability to recognize information correctly was low (less than50%). Patients recognized significantly less information pre-operatively than before suture removal. State of anxiety, dental anxiety, and expectation to experience pain had a profound effect on their ability to recognize provided information correctly. Apparently, before dental treatment (high or low on stress), patients' ability to process information may be severely impaired.