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Psychobiological personality dimensions in two environmental-illness patient groups
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Odontology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Odontology.
2005 (English)In: Clinical Oral Investigations, ISSN 1432-6981, E-ISSN 1436-3771, Vol. 9, no 4, 251-256 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

The aim of the present study was to investigate the psychobiological personality dimensions in two subgroups of patients with environmental illness (EI). Fifty-nine patients, 34 women and 25 men (aged 32-69 years), were referred for symptoms allegedly caused by abnormal sensitivity to either dental fillings (DF; n=26) or electromagnetic fields (EMF; n=33). For the evaluation of personality, the Swedish 238-item version of the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) was used. Compared with a control group, the EMF group scored higher on the temperament dimension Persistence. The DF group scored higher on the TCI subscales Harm Avoidance (fatigability and asthenia) and Self-Directedness (self-acceptance). Women scored higher than men did on the Novelty Seeking and Reward Dependence (RD) dimensions in the DF group and on RD in the control group, indicating an inherited gender difference. No differences were found between men and women in the EMF group. Our results indicate that the high level of persistence found in the EMF group and the high level of fatigability and asthenia in combination with high self-acceptance found in the DF group represent vulnerable personalities. No significant differences were found between the two patient groups, indicating that these groups are quite similar regarding personality. This vulnerability can be expressed as various mental and somatic symptoms, which can be interpreted as El symptoms by the affected individual.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 9, no 4, 251-256 p.
Keyword [en]
dental fillings, electromagnetic fields, environmental illness, character, personality, temperament
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-113828DOI: 10.1007/s00784-005-0015-2ISI: 000234471600006PubMedID: 16215748OAI: diva2:890656
Available from: 2016-01-04 Created: 2016-01-04 Last updated: 2016-01-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. A multidisciplinary study of patients with signs or symptoms attributed to dental restorative materials
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A multidisciplinary study of patients with signs or symptoms attributed to dental restorative materials
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Anxiety for adverse health effects attributed to dental restorative materials especially dentalamalgam, have been discussed extensively off and on the last 30 years. The possible health effect ofamalgam and health effect of replacements of amalgam, have been extensively studied but theresults are inconclusive and the etiology of the reactions are not entirely elucidated. Furthermore,the question of psychological influence on symptoms attributed to dental restorative materials hasbeen raised and need further examination.

The aims of this thesis were to describe the change in health over time for patient with symptomsattributed to their dental materials and to determine whether replacement of their dentalrestorative materials had any impact on their perceived health. Furthermore, to determine anddescribe the personality, self-image, level of psychological symptoms and stress among thesepatients and compare the results with those of healthy controls. Finally, to evaluate regression ofLichenoid Contact Reactions and Oral lichen Planus after replacement of the dental materials.

A questionnaire was mailed to 614 patients that had been referred to the School of Dentistry, Umeå,Sweden with symptoms attributed to dental materials. Among these patients a subgroup with orallichen also underwent a clinical examination at follow-up.

The result showed that patients with complex symptoms had a more unfavorable long-termprognosis concerning persistent complaints than those with local symptoms only. The oralsymptoms had decreased between baseline and follow-up and the general symptoms had increased.The increase in general symptoms was contradictory since many patients experienced healthimprovement after removal of their dental restorative materials. Concerning personality thepatients was characterized mainly by high persistence and by high fatigability and asthenia as wellas psychosocially learned high self-acceptance. Regarding self-image, both patients with LocalSymptoms Only and patients with Multi Symptoms, scored significantly higher on "spontaneous"and "positive self-image" than the reference group. The Multi symptoms group scored significantlyhigher on psychological symptoms compared to the reference group. However, the Local symptomsgroup did not differ from the references. The remission of oral lesions was after an exchange ofdental materials was seen to a greater extent in patients with Lichenoid Contact Reaction than inpatients with Oral Lichen Planus. Regarding psychological parameters, there were no significantdifferences between the groups.

In conclusion symptoms related to dental restorative materials seem to be multi-factorial wheredental, medical, social, and psychological factors may be involved. Patient with complex symptomshave a more unfavorable prognosis than patient with local symptoms only. Patient with symptomsself-related to their dental materials may feel improvement in general health after an exchange ofdental materials. The group of patients seems to represent personalities that could be vulnerable inthe demanding modern society, and the various mental and somatic symptoms can be interpretedas attributed to dental fillings. Patients with Local Symptoms or Multi Symptoms are equalconcerning self-image, they are impulsive with an elevated positive self-image, that can result indifficulties in setting limits. Thus in combination with high demands may result in mental stress.The Multi Symptoms group was more psychologically stressed than the group with Local SymptomsOnly and the references. Therefore, before an exchange of dental materials is commenced inpatients with oral lichenoid lesions, a correct diagnosis is needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2016. 73 p.
Umeå University odontological dissertations, ISSN 0345-7532 ; 135
Dental restorative materials, environmental intolerance, oral lichen, personality, self-image, psychological symptoms
National Category
Biomaterials Science
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-114096 (URN)978-91-7601-403-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-02-05, Sal D 9 tr, Tandläkarhögskolan, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-01-15 Created: 2016-01-13 Last updated: 2016-01-20Bibliographically approved

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Bergdahl, JanMårell, LenaBergdahl, Maud
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