Objectives: Andersen's revised behavioural model provides a framework for understanding the factors which influence utilization of health services and key health outcomes. To date, there have been few studies that have explicitly tested the model in relation to oral health. The aim of this study was to test the model and to examine the direct and mediated pathways between social, attitudinal and behavioural factors and perceived oral health outcomes.
Methods: The model was tested in a general population sample with data from the UK adult dental health survey (N = 3815) using the two-stage process of structural equation modelling.
Results: Structural equation modelling indicated support in line with the hypotheses within the model; enabling resources (oral health education advice, type of dental service, finding NHS treatment expensive, dental anxiety) predicted need (number of decayed or unsound teeth and perceived treatment need); enabling resources and need predicted personal health practices and use of services (frequency of toothbrushing, recent dental attendance, attendance orientation) which, in turn, predicted perceived oral health outcomes (oral health quality of life). Both enabling resources and need also predicted perceived oral health outcomes. The impact of predisposing factors (social class, qualifications, income) on need, personal health practices and use of services, and oral health outcomes was indirect; that is, mediated by intervening factors. In the final model, 26%, 37%, 49% and 21% of the variance was accounted for in enabling resources, treatment need, personal health practices and use of services and perceived oral health outcomes respectively.
Conclusion: The results provide support for Andersen's behavioural model as applied to perceived oral health. Further conceptual development of the model is discussed.