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Pediatr Dent. 2013 May-Jun;35(3):241-6.

An effective psychoeducational intervention for early childhood caries prevention: part I.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Dentistry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.



The purpose was to compare whether mothers exposed to an autonomy-supportive psychoeducational videotaped message, informed by the self-determination theory (SDT), demonstrated greater changes in oral health knowledge and behavioral intentions as a preventive means for early childhood caries (ECC) than mothers exposed to a neutral message delivered by brochure.


Data were collected at baseline, one-, and six-month follow-ups from 415 12- to 49-month-old WIC-enrolled children and their mothers: 283 in the video intervention group and 132 in the brochure control group. Mothers completed questionnaires on maternal knowledge and behavioral intentions for oral health care. Chi-square, Wilcoxon rank-sum, and Mann-Whitney tests were used to analyze data (P<.05).


Relative to their baseline scores, the intervention group showed a greater increase in knowledge than the control group, both at one-month (P=.002) and six-month follow-ups (P<.001). The video group also demonstrated a greater increase in behavioral intentions than controls, both at one-month (P<.05) and six-month follow-ups (P<.001). Knowledge and behavioral intention levels at six-month follow-up did not differ significantly from those at one-month follow-up, indicating that intervention-based increases in these measures were maintained over time.


Data provided evidence of the effectiveness of the autonomy-supportive psychoeducational intervention for ECC prevention relative to a neutral brochure.

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