Methods: The current study employed a two-group randomized controlled trial involving 18 oral health classes (7 dental; 11 dental hygiene) randomized to either the training program (Intervention Condition n=12 classes; 7 dental hygiene; 5 dental) or to instruction-as-usual (Control Condition n = 6 classes; 4 dental hygiene; 2 dental). The total number of participants included 314 students (n=182 Intervention; n=132 Control).
A web-based Likert-type questionnaire was employed to assess the following variables: professional responsibility (α=.798); legal responsibility (α =.856); perceived susceptibility (α=.932); perceived severity (α=.932); perceived benefits (α=.840); perceived barriers (α=.876); self-efficacy (α=.911); procedural knowledge and knowledge of oral manifestations of disordered eating behaviors; socio-demographics.
Results: After adjusting for baseline levels, post-assessment analyses reveal statistically significant improvements among Intervention group participants as compared with Control group participants with regard to: knowledge of eating disorders and oral findings (p<.001); perceived susceptibility (p<.001); perceived barriers (p<.001); procedural knowledge (p<.001); and self-efficacy (p<.001). Effect sizes ranging from .39 to 1.00.
Conclusions: The empirically driven intervention has shown to improve eating disorder secondary prevention knowledge, beliefs, skills, and self-efficacy among dental and dental hygiene students. This project promotes the timely transfer of oral-systemic health research into the oral health curriculum subsequently increasing the likelihood that persons with disordered eating behaviors are identified in the context of oral health care, and referred to care and given proper, tailored treatment.
Keywords: Behavioral science, Education research, Evaluation, Preventive dentistry and Technology
See more of: Education Research