Anxiety among Brazilian Dentists During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Study

Arthur Igor Cruz Lima1
, Fernando Martins Carvalho1
, Marcos Vinicius de Santana Silva2
, Juliane Kely Fagundes Silva2
, Carolina Franco de Azevedo1
, Liliane Lins-Kusterer1, *

1 Postgraduate Programme in Health, Environment, and Health, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
2 Postgraduate Programme in Collective Health, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

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© 2022 Lima et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Postgraduate Programme in Health, Environment, and Health, School of Medicine, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil, Largo do Terreiro de Jesus, s/n - Centro Histórico, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil 40.026-010; Tel: 55.71.992700660; E-mail:



Despite using biosafety protocols, dentists fear contracting COVID-19 and face economic uncertainties about their professional future caused by the pandemic.


This study aimed at determining the prevalence of anxiety and identifying factors associated with it among dentists during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil.


A cross-sectional study involving 408 Brazilian dental surgeons selected by snowball technique who filled an electronic questionnaire about sex, race, dental specialty, health habits, health-related quality of life, anxiety, and COVID-19-related aspects. Symptoms of anxiety were measured by the Beck anxiety inventory, and health-related quality of life was assessed by the World Health Organization Quality of Life questionnaire. Poisson regression was used to obtain estimates of adjusted prevalence ratios.


The prevalence rate of anxiety was found to be 27.5% and it was significantly higher among dentists who were afraid of catching COVID-19 (Prevalence Ratio=PR=2.52), and among those who reported sweating, wheezing, and increased heart rate during work (PR=3.67). Afro-American dentists were 48% more anxious than dentists belonging to the white/yellow race. The mean value of the quality of life of anxious dentists compared to non-anxious dentists was 13% lower in the physical domain, 12% lower in the psychological domain, and 7% higher in the social relationship domain.


The prevalence of anxiety among Brazilian dentists, in the context of economic uncertainty and social distance imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, is high and associated with the fear of contracting the disease, physical symptomatology of stress, being Afro-American, and altered quality of life in the physical, psychological, and social relationships domains.

Keywords: Anxiety, COVID-19, Dentists, Quality of life, Mental health, Occupational stress.