Usefulness of multiple equations for predicting preventive oral health behaviors

Health Educ Q. 1996 Nov;23(4):512-27. doi: 10.1177/109019819602300410.


Canonical correlation analyses of a previous dental survey suggested that dental checkups, flossing, and tooth brushing could all be predicted from a single equation. Most theories and research about the influence of beliefs on behavior, however, suggest different behaviors will be best predicted by different behavior-specific measures. The current survey investigated influences on brushing, flossing, and dental checkups in a probability sample of adults in the Detroit tri-county area. Both behavior-specific variables, such as perceived benefits and costs of flossing, and general variables, such as gender, were included as predictors. Canonical correlation analysis indicated three equations were needed to predict the three oral health behaviors. Flossing frequency, for example, was best predicted by confidence in flossing ability and beliefs about the benefits of and barriers to flossing. The results suggest that even these closely related behaviors are best predicted using separate equations that include mostly behavior-specific predictors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Demography
  • Dental Devices, Home Care
  • Dental Health Surveys
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Michigan
  • Middle Aged
  • Oral Health*
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Probability
  • Sampling Studies
  • Toothbrushing