A conceptual framework for Hispanic oral health care

J Public Health Dent. 2008 Winter;68(1):1-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.2007.00073.x.


The need to study the health and health care determinants of US Hispanics is mandated by their rapid population growth. Nonetheless, it is challenging to study such a diverse population that incorporates many similarities and differences in values and experiences. This paper aims to highlight the factors that should be considered in Hispanic oral health research in the United States, and presents, in a theoretical framework, the relationships between these factors. The proposed ecological framework is supported by an extensive literature review, with an emphasis on the factors that are reported to differ among ethnic groups. It has a foundation in social science and is based on existing models from different fields of knowledge. To be comprehensive, the framework simultaneously addresses individual and environmental constructs. Within these, antecedent factors shape the intention to seek oral health care, while empowerment factors play a mediating role between intention and actual receipt of care. Individual antecedent factors incorporate risk markers, need, and predisposing factors. Environmental antecedent factors are represented by social constructs that allude to the population's health culture. Empowerment factors explain the level of control that a person perceives or the environment provides in receiving care. A thorough consideration of the factors that drive Hispanics' oral health care usage will aid US researchers and practitioners in improving this population's health and access to care.

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Competency*
  • Demography
  • Dental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Planning
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Services Research
  • Hispanic or Latino / ethnology*
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control