Self-care motivation: a model for primary preventive oral health behavior change

J Sch Health. 1987 Mar;57(3):114-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.1987.tb05382.x.


Attempts to promote compliance of children with preventive health practices are most successful when strategies for motivating self-care behavior change address the physical, cognitive, and affective components of individuals. This study evaluated the effectiveness of using a Self-Care Motivation Model and curriculum to promote oral health and hygiene behavior change among 92 third grade students randomly selected according to homeroom assignments in five Gloucester, Mass., public schools. Student gingival health and oral hygiene measures were obtained two weeks prior to, and two weeks, three months, and one year after educational sessions. Group one, comprised of mid-high socioeconomic status family students, served as an oral examination control. Groups two-five received educational sessions designed to teach students various aspects of oral health. Significant improvements (p less than .001) in gingival health and dental plaque scores were observed in all experimental groups for up to three months. During a period of three months to one year, mean group scores returned to baseline and worsened for all groups except group five, the lowest socioeconomic family status group and the only group receiving the full series of self-care motivation curriculum sessions. Experimental group teachers reported that most children responded favorably to the program, and specific attitude and behavior changes were observed in many children. Further research evaluating the efficacy of using this self-care motivation model in primary preventive health education programs is indicated.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Child
  • Cognition
  • Dental Plaque / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Oral Hygiene*
  • Periodontal Index
  • Primary Prevention
  • Self Care*