Kegnie Shitu

Determinants of intention to improve oral hygiene behavior among students based on the theory of planned behavior: a structural equation modelling analysis

  • Authors Details :  
  • Kegnie Shitu ,
  • Mekuriaw Alemayehu,
  • Yvonne A. B. Buunk-werkhoven,
  • Simegnew Handebo

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Introduction: The prevalence of oral hygiene behaviors (OHB) is very low among school children in Ethiopia. However, the determinants of student's readiness/intention to perform those behaviors have been remained unstudied. Objective: This study aimed to identify the determinants of oral hygiene behavioral intention (OHBI) among preparatory school students based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB). Methods and materials: An institution-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 393 students. A 98-item self-administered questionnaire was used to evaluate oral hygiene knowledge (OHK), oral hygiene behavior (OHB), and OHBI based on TPB variables [attitude (ATT), subjective norms (SN) and perceived behavioral control (PBC)]. Descriptive statistics and structural equation modeling analysis (SEM) were employed to confirm relationships and associations among study variables. A p-value of less than 0.05 and a 95% confidence interval were used to declare statistical significance. Results: A total of 393 students were participated with a response rate of 97.5%. The mean age of the participants (54% females) was 18 (± 1.3) with an age range of 16 to 24. The TPB model was well fitted to the data and explained 66% of the variance in intention. ATT (β = 0.38; 95% CI, (0.21, 0.64)), SN (β = 0.33; 95% CI, (0.05, 0.83)) and PBC (β = 0.29; 95% CI, (0.13, 0.64)) were significant predictors of OHBI, where ATT was the strongest predictor of OHBI. Conclusion: The TPB model explained a large variance in the intention of students to improve their OHB. All TPB variables were significantly and positively linked to stronger intent, as the theory suggests. Furthermore, these results suggest that the model could provide a framework for oral hygiene promotion interventions in the study area. Indeed, these interventions should focus on changing the attitudes of students towards OHB, creation of positive social pressure, and enabling students to control OHB barriers.

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