Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Michelle M. Martel


Psychosocial functioning is a key component of screening and treatment of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) in adults; however, psychosocial functioning in adolescents with TMD has received little empirical attention. The present study aims to examine group difference between adolescents and adults with TMD on pain and prominent psychosocial factors, such as anxiety, depression, and somatization, as well as to explore additional developmentally sensitive psychosocial factors that may be associated more with the adolescent TMD pain.

Participants included 35 adolescents aged 12-17 (M=14.89 years, SD=1.84) with TMD muscle pain who completed pain questionnaires and a comprehensive dental examination. Patients and their primary caregivers completed behavioral questionnaires to examine psychosocial functioning. Thirty-five adults matched on gender, diagnosis, and duration of pain were selected from a large pre-existing database of previous orofacial pain patients.

Adolescents and adults reported descriptively similar TMD pain and equivalent rates of anxiety, depression, and somatization; however, the relationship between these psychosocial factors and TMD pain appear to be more salient for adults compared to adolescents. In adolescents, increased pain-related interference was significantly associated with positive attitudes toward school, better anger control, and deficits in functional communication; whereas, more frequent TMD pain was significantly associated with sense of inadequacy and parent-reported withdrawal, though not in the expected direction.

Screening for TMD in adults typically focuses on anxiety, depression, and somatization; however, these psychosocial factors overall did not appear as salient in adolescents as attitude toward school, anger control, sense of inadequacy, withdrawal, and functional communication, suggesting that adult psychosocial screen may need to be revised to include developmentally sensitive targets that may be particularly important for screening of TMD in adolescents.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)