Factors influencing behaviour patterns in 3-5-year-old children attending three public paediatric dental clinics in Nairobi, Kenya

  • N Gichu
  • G.N. Opinya
  • E Ngatia
  • L.W. Gathece


Objective: To determine factors that influence behaviour patterns in 3-5year olds attending paediatric dental clinics.

Design: A descriptive cross-sectional study.

Setting: The School of Dental Sciences, University of Nairobi Dental Hospital,Kenyatta National Hospital, Dental Clinic, and the Lady Northey Children’s Clinic

Subjects: Three hundred and thirty children aged 3-5 years who had been accompanied by their parents/guardians.

Results: Among the 330 children (174males and 156 females) examined those with ‘Definitely negative’ behaviour observed were 33 (10%) of the children, while 94 (28.5%) had ‘negative’ behaviour, 108 (32.7%) had ‘positive’ behaviour and 95 (28.8%) had ‘definitely positive’ behaviour. There was no relationship between child behaviour and previous clinical experience of the parent/guardian (p=0.21). The older children were significantly better behaved than the younger children (p=0.04). There was a significant relationship between child behaviour exhibited and previous clinical experience of the child (p=0.004). Parents/guardians were accurately able to predict the behaviour of their children in the clinic (p=0.00).

Conclusion: Positive behaviour was significantly related to the age of the child and parents were able to accurately predict the behaviour of their children. Behaviour was also significantly related to previous clinical experiences of the child. Hence the dentists management of the child may result in negative or positive behaviour.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0012-835X