The relationship between health related knowledge, attitudes and dental health behaviours in 14-16-year-old adolescents.

R. Freeman (Lead / Corresponding author), J. Maizels, M. Wyllie, A. Sheiham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


A survey of 3,160 pupils aged 14 to 16 years, attending schools in the 16 districts of the North East Thames Regional Health Authority, was conducted to examine their dental health status, attitudes and behaviour. The objective was to examine factors that might affect the assimilation of dental health education information, attitude modification and behavioural change, both in terms of clinical and psychosocial indicators of dental health. In general the dental health of those surveyed was good. Female pupils from outer London schools with high educational aspirations tended to have better periodontal health, an increased experience of restorative treatment, a greater dental health knowledge and more positive attitudes than the remaining children. Pupils' dental health attitudes could be explained by their present self-care practices in addition to the wish to adopt positive dental health behaviours in the future. Their ability to adopt these was further associated with their positive and negative perceptions of their own dental health. The close association between positive behaviours towards, and feelings of control over future dental health suggested that health attitudes could reflect feelings of empowerment and this was conductive to the adoption of self-care practices. Those pupils who felt empowered were more able to promote their own dental health by means of their positive self-care actions. On the other hand those groups of pupils which appeared less able to assimilate dental health information, which had less positive attitudes and were therefore unable to promote their own dental health through the adoption of self-care practices, could be identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-404
Number of pages8
JournalCommunity Dental Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • General Dentistry


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