Mechanisms of Health Behaviour Change with dental hygiene as an example


  • R. Schwarzer


Background: In health behavior change, several constructs have been found important such as self-efficacy, planning, action control, and behavioural intention. Findings from five intervention studies on dental hygiene will be compared in terms of the functional roles of these constructs. Methods: Two-arm interventions were conducted in Iran (N=166), Poland (N=287), China (N=284), and India (N1=205, N2=112). Very brief treatments were inspired by the Health Action Process Approach with the aim to improve participants’ self-efficacy, planning, and action control. Findings: Quantitative analyses yielded time by treatment interactions in all five studies confirming the usefulness of the interventions (all p<.05). The main focus was on ex post modeling the roles of the treatment ingredients which resulted in sequential mediation effects in four studies and a moderated mediation effect in one study where self-efficacy and action control operated as moderators. Discussion: The interventions have been found to produce changes in motivation and one or more of the treatment ingredients (self-efficacy, planning, and action control) which in turn had some effect on later dental behaviours. However, the models were inconsistent, raising the question whether individual differences in participants’ readiness for change might be responsible for this inconsistency.





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