Comparing a Motivational With a Self-regulatory Intervention to Adopt an Oral Self-care Regimen

  • P. Lhakhang
  • M. Gholami
  • N. Knoll
  • R.Schwarzer


Background: Periodontal diseases and dental caries are the most prevalent dental diseases affecting people worldwide. According to the health action process approach (HAPA), participants should first be informed about the risks and benefits to be encouraged to form a behavioral intention to adopt better oral self-care.Then should be guided to generate plans and control their behavior. However, research has not addressed the validity of this putative sequence. Thus, this study evaluates the effectiveness of two subsequent dental flossing interventions (Motivational vs. Self-regulatory), placed in different order to test the superiority of a sequence. Methods: Young adults(N=205, aged 18–26 years) were allocated to two treatment groups (Sequence 1 vs. Sequence 2) at three assessment points, 34 days apart in Spring 2013. Sequence 1 received a motivational intervention followed by a self-regulatory intervention. Sequence 2 group received the same treatments, but in the opposite order. ANOVAs and ANCOVAs were conducted with dental flossing, self-efficacy, planning, and action control as dependent variables and sequence conditions as within subject factor. Results: Both treatment sequences yielded gains in terms of all variables. However, the motivational treatment was found to have a negligible effect, i.e., the overall gains were attained even without it. At Time 2, those who had received the self-regulatory treatment first, were superior to their counterparts who had received the motivational treatment first. At T 3, differences vanished as everyone had then received both treatments. Conclusions: This research has explored in a unique way the sequencing of different health behavior interventions. Findings highlight the advantage of a self-regulatory intervention over a motivational dental flossing intervention. Keywords: self-regulation, intervention, oral self-care, self-efficacy, planning, action control, young adults.
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