Development and testing of a theory-based behavioural change intervention: A pilot investigation in a nursery school in a deprived area of Scotland



Gilinsky A, Swanson V, Merrett M, Power KG & Marley L (2012) Development and testing of a theory-based behavioural change intervention: A pilot investigation in a nursery school in a deprived area of Scotland. Community Dental Health, 29 (1), pp. 62-67.

Objective: Investigate the effect of a theory-based intervention on oral-health knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of early years staff (EYS), parents and nursery children. Methods: Qualitative research with staff and parents from eight nurseries through interviews/focus groups. An intervention was developed and piloted using pre-posttest design. Clinical setting: Nurseries in deprived communities in Dundee, Scotland. Participants: 111 children aged 3-5 years attending nursery, including 79 parents and 8 nursery staff. Interventions: Staff session targeted outcome expectancies, subjective norms and self-efficacy for tooth-brushing in nursery using information provision, modelling and goal-setting, followed by a three-week intervention. Parent-child dyads received a leaflet with instructions for goal-setting, planning and monitoring home brushing. Tooth-brushing self-monitoring materials (e.g. two-minute timer, diaries) were used and certificates provided in the nursery as rewards. Outcome measures: EYS knowledge, attitudes and behaviours were assessed before and after the intervention using self-report questionnaires. Parents completed interviews assessing beliefs about tooth-brushing and their children's tooth-brushing behaviour at baseline and post-intervention follow-up. Results: Significant improvements in staff knowledge, but not attitudes, self-efficacy, or nursery tooth-brushing were reported. Parent-child dyads completing the intervention were not more likely to report their child carried out twice-daily tooth-brushing at home. The intervention did not improve parents' intentions to brush their child's teeth twice a day or beliefs about the ease of twice-daily tooth-brushing. Conclusion: Only past behaviour significantly predicted posttest brushing. Parents who found brushing easier at baseline were more likely to complete the intervention. Recommendations are made regarding implementing psychological theory and methods into oral-health interventions.

child, dental caries, knowledge, behaviour, attitudes, parents, nurseries, intervention, health inequalities

Community Dental Health: Volume 29, Issue 1

Publication date31/03/2012
PublisherDennis Barber Ltd
Publisher URL…area-of-scotland

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Professor Vivien Swanson

Professor Vivien Swanson

Professor, Psychology