Motivational interviewing to decrease parental risk-related behaviors for early childhood caries

TitleMotivational interviewing to decrease parental risk-related behaviors for early childhood caries
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsFreudenthal, JJ, Bowen, DM
JournalJournal of Dental Hygiene
Date Published2010 Winter
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number1043-254X
KeywordsChild, Coefficient Alpha, Dental Caries -- Prevention and Control -- In Infancy and Childhood, Descriptive Statistics, Fisher's Exact Test, Human, Idaho, interviews, Mann-Whitney U Test, Mothers, Motivation, Pretest-Posttest Design, Questionnaires, Random Assignment, Research Dropouts, Research Instruments, Research Subject Recruitment, Risk Taking Behavior, Sample Size, Scales, Statistical Significance, T-Tests, Telephone

Purpose: This small scale study examined if an individualized motivational interviewing (MI) approach to oral health education promoted positive changes in early childhood caries (ECC) risk-related behaviors of mothers enrolled in a Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program. Methods: Seventy-two mothers were recruited to complete pretest and posttest questionnaires 4 weeks apart. Mothers in the treatment group (n=40) experienced a counseling type session (MI) and follow-up telephone calls to promote positive oral health behaviors. Results: No significant change was found in the 4 constructs measured: valuing dental health, permissiveness, convenience and change difficulty or openness to health information. Statistically significant positive changes were found in the treatment group only in number of times the children's teeth were cleaned or brushed (p=0.001) and the use of shared eating utensils (p=0.035). Other cariogenic feeding practices and use of sweets to reward or modify behavior were not significantly affected (p<0.05). Conclusions: In this group of WIC mothers, MI appeared to have a modest impact on some high-risk parental behaviors that contribute to ECC. This approach warrants further investigation to assess impact of an extended intervention program, parents from diverse populations and the feasibility of use of peer counselors in the public health setting.

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