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Papers of the Week

2022 Apr 15

Healthcare (Basel)



Temporomandibular Disorders, Bruxism, Perceived Stress, and Coping Strategies among Medical University Students in Times of Social Isolation during Outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic.


Saczuk K, Lapinska B, Wawrzynkiewicz A, Witkowska A, Arbildo-Vega H I, Domarecka M, Lukomska-Szymanska M
Healthcare (Basel). 2022 Apr 15; 10(4).
PMID: 35455915.


The COVID-19 pandemic caught universities along with their students off-guard, enforcing online education. Fear of the unknown, disinformation, and isolation resulted in an increased stress level in the entire population. Medical university students are particularly endangered with high stress levels and developing TMD. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are of multifactorial etiology, and manifest with jaw dysfunction, masticatory muscle tension or pain, as well as headache. Though bruxism can act as an exacerbating factor for TMD, stress can also play crucial role in the onset. The study aimed to measure occurrence of TMD and bruxism symptoms in the medical student population, asses the stress level, and evaluate adopted stress-coping strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. A survey study was performed among 1018 students at Medical University of Lodz during April 2020. A self-designed questionnaire for screening TMD and bruxism symptoms, Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10), and Brief-COPE questionnaires were applied. TMD and bruxism symptoms were observed in the majority of subjects during social isolation. The perceived stress levels were significantly higher in those experiencing TMD and bruxism symptoms. Mostly maladaptive, emotion-focused coping strategies were chosen by study subjects experiencing high levels of stress. Choosing Self-Blaming as a coping strategy is the strongest predictor of perceived stress.