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Title:Preventive Dental Behavior of White American Families and the Health Belief Model
Author(s):Chen, Meei-Shia
Department / Program:Health and Safety Education
Discipline:Health and Safety Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Health
Abstract:The purpose of this study was: (1) to determine the current status of preventive dental behavior of representative white American families, and (2) to test the appropriateness and sufficiency of the Health Belief Model and its applications to problems in understanding and predicting preventive dental behavior.
Data were collected by a mail questionnaire sent to a sample of 1,000 families selected by a stratified sampling with quotas intended to be representative of the United States with respect to geography, population density, age of homemaker, annual family income, and family size. The questionnaire was designed to obtain information on two sets of variables: variables on preventive dental behavior (schedule and frequency of toothbrushing, frequency of dental flossing, and regularity and recency of preventive dental visits) and variables of the Health Belief Model (perception of susceptibility, perception of severity, perception of salience, perception of benefits, perception of barriers, and general motivation). Data on socio-demographic variables were also collected.
The results from the data on the 685 white American families who returned the questionnaire showed that a rather large percentage of the family members did not follow strict toothbrushing schedules (34.3% of wives, 43.8% of husbands, and 51.9% of children) or visit dentists regularly (33.9% of wives, 47.2% of husbands, and 30.5% of children). In addition, daily flossing was practiced by only a minority of family members (20.0% of wives, 11.5% of husbands, and 6.4% of children). There was a significant increase in the proportion of people engaging in preventive dental behavior since 1974, and in contrast, almost no improvement was made from 1966 to 1974.
A canonical correlation analysis indicated that preventive dental behavior was significantly related to socio-demographic characteristics for wives (r(,c) = .342), husbands (r(,c) = .345), and children (r(,c) = .341), separately. The dental visit (structure coefficients were .984 for wives, .929 for husbands, and .960 for children) was the most important factor of the dental activities that contributed to the correlation. Among the socio-demographic variables, family income and levels of education were the best predictors.
The statistically significant step-down canonical correlation (r(,c) = .436, p = .00001) between the perceptions and preventive dental behavior provided support for the Health Belief Model. The dental visit, as opposed to toothbrushing and dental flossing, had the highest level of predictability with structure coefficient of .936. Perception of salience, benefits, and barriers were more powerful predictors (structure coefficients. 721, .428, and 757, respectively). These findings suggest the need for dental and health professionals to devote more effort to changing those perceptions that are better predictors of preventive dental behavior, with the most probable result being attributable to changes in the frequency of dental visits rather than to changes in toothbrushing or flossing habits. However, the correlation accounted for less than 20% of the variance of preventive dental behavior. This finding indicates that the perception is only one of the many factors that directly or indirectly affect the likelihood of taking preventive dental behavior. In other words, although the Health Belief Model may be appropriate and useful in predicting preventive dental behavior, it should be applied with caution.
Issue Date:1981
Description:182 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8203425
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-14
Date Deposited:1981

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