What factors influence mothers' behavior regarding control of their children's sugary snack intake?: An application of the Theory of Planned Behavior

Int Dent J. 2018 Oct;68(5):336-343. doi: 10.1111/idj.12391. Epub 2018 Apr 16.


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the factors influencing mothers' behavior regarding control of their children's sugary snack intake based on the Theory of Planned Behavior.

Methods: We used a self-administered questionnaire to collect data from the mothers of preschool children on the factors related to their behaviours influencing control of their children's sugary snack intake, namely attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control, self-efficacy, age, income and educational level. Spearman's rank correlation coefficient and multiple regression were used to analyse the relationships between the mother's behaviours and the predicting variables.

Results: In total, 293 mothers from the Pediatric Dental Clinic, Mahidol University, participated. The factors significantly related to controlling sugary snack intake were self-efficacy (r = 0.425, P < 0.01), perceived behavioural control (r = 0.361, P < 0.01), attitude (r = 0.302, P < 0.01) and subjective norms (r = 0.211, P < 0.01). For belief-based measures, control beliefs were the most significant factors related to behaviour, followed by normative beliefs but not behavioural beliefs. Having time and the child's willingness were perceived as important control factors, while family and other mothers were significant referents for mothers in controlling sugary snack behaviour. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that self-efficacy (β = 0.339, P < 0.001), attitude (β = 0.190, P = 0.002) and mother's age (β = 0.110, P = 0.043) were significant predictors in controlling the child's sugary snack intake.

Conclusion: The factors influencing mothers regarding control of their children's sugary snack intake were self-efficacy, attitude and age of the mother. Oral health education on controlling children's sugary snack intake should focus on developing the mother's self-efficacy and perception of control. The results may not be generalisable to mothers in different cultures or socio-economic status.

Keywords: Theory of Planned Behavior; behaviour; children; education; self-efficacy.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet
  • Dietary Sugars*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Education, Dental
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mothers*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Snacks*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thailand


  • Dietary Sugars