The aim of this study was to investigate attitudes and oral health behaviours of people referred to a specialist periodontal clinic. The method of Ajzen and Fishbein was used to construct a questionnaire to examine the attitudes and the influence of 'important others' associated with the oral health of a consecutive group of 214 first time attenders at a hospital periodontal clinic. The mean age of those investigated was 38.8 (SD 11.2) years. They were predominantly female (66 per cent) and from a higher socioeconomic status group (66 per cent). Significantly more of those in a high oral health behaviour group scored higher for the dental health attitudes--'clean teeth' and 'fresh breath'--and for the 'important other', the dentist. This suggested that two sets of attitudes existed--health related and health directed--and that the dentist was the most salient referent. Principle components analysis demonstrated the dual nature of attitude and suggested that family and friends were also influential 'important others'. This suggested a clash exists between lay and professional dental health perspectives. Clinicians should be aware that patients who are referred for consultations to their clinics arrive with their own strongly held attitudes and beliefs, appearing to value the advice of family as well as that of the dental health professional.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Community Dental Health|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 1995|