An exploratory qualitative study examining the social and psychological processes involved in regular dental attendance

Barry J. Gibson (Lead / Corresponding author), Jackie Drennan, Sarah Hanna, R. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to provide a description of the psychosocial process involved in regular dental attendance. Methods: The study design was a qualitative cross-sectional study using unstructured and semistructured interviews and observations of regular dental visits. The study participants included 12 men and 18 women attending general dental practices and six men and four women attending an emergency dental service. The data were systematically recorded and subjected to line-by-line grounded theory coding around the main concerns of those attending the dentist. Results: The main concern of those attending for a regular dental visit was checking their oral health. The six-month recall was conceptualized as a checking cycle in six phases: recalling, responding, inducing (i), waiting, inducing (ii), and telling. The possible outcomes of the cycle were maintaining oral health, sustaining oral health, and a further checking cycle. Variations in checking cycles resulted from reordering and normalizing pressures within participants' lifestyles. Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that people's patterns of dental attendance are similar to those of other chronic illnesses. An understanding of the dynamic psychosocial processes involved in frequent dental attendance may be achieved when further research into this phenomenon is conducted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Public Health Dentistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000


  • Behavioral science
  • Grounded theory
  • Patient compliance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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