A brief intervention changing oral self-care, self-efficacy, and self-monitoring

Br J Health Psychol. 2015 Feb;20(1):56-67. doi: 10.1111/bjhp.12091. Epub 2014 Jan 29.


Background and aim: The roles of self-efficacy and self-monitoring as proximal predictors of dental flossing frequency are studied in the context of an oral health intervention.

Materials and methods: A study among 287 university students, aged 19 to 26 years, compared an intervention group that received a brief self-regulatory treatment, with a passive and an active control group. Dental flossing, self-efficacy, and self-monitoring were assessed at baseline and 3 weeks later.

Results: The intervention led to an increase in dental flossing regardless of experimental condition. However, treatment-specific gains were documented for self-efficacy and self-monitoring. Moreover, changes in the latter two served as mediators in a path model, linking the intervention with subsequent dental flossing and yielding significant indirect effects.

Conclusions: Self-efficacy and self-monitoring play a mediating role in facilitating dental flossing. Interventions that aim at an improvement in oral self-care should consider using these constructs. Statement of contribution What is already known on this subject? The adoption and maintenance of oral self-care can be facilitated by a number of social-cognitive variables. Interventions that include planning, action control, or self-efficacy components have been shown to improve dental flossing. In one recent study on flossing in adolescent girls, planning intervention effects were mediated by self-efficacy. What does this study add? Self-monitoring is associated with better oral self-care. A 10-min intervention improves self-efficacy and self-monitoring. Self-efficacy and self-monitoring operate as mediators between treatment and flossing.

Keywords: action control; dental flossing; oral self-care; self-efficacy; self-monitoring; self-regulation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Oral Hygiene / methods*
  • Oral Hygiene / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Self Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult