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Title: The application of habit theory to oral health behaviours
Author: Raison, Margaret Heather
ISNI:       0000 0004 7656 8196
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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A habit is defined as a process by which a stimulus generates an impulse to act as a result of a learned stimulus-response association. This thesis presents the novel application of habit formation theory to the dental context, to help determine how it might be applied to both frequent (predominantly tooth brushing behaviour) and relatively infrequent behaviours (preventive dental visiting). Study 1 reports a systematic review on the effectiveness of cue-automaticity interventions to increase preventive healthcare attendance and how this might then be translated into a dental setting. The study concludes that although limited work has been conducted in this area, initial findings are encouraging. Study 2, a qualitative study, explores the theoretical proposition that established tooth brushing behaviour may become habitual (and therefore automaticity performed). Key components to habitual tooth brushing behaviour are described and differences between morning and evening brushing investigated. Study 3, a cross-sectional survey, explores the psycho-social characteristics associated with habitual tooth brushing and interdental cleaning behaviours across the socio-economic spectrum. Results showed tooth brushing as performed habitually, with automaticity scores associated with age, gender and self-efficacy for tooth brushing while automaticity scores for interdental cleaning were associated with intention to perform the behaviour. Study 4, a habitual tooth brushing intervention development piece, begins to explore how a habitual tooth brushing intervention could be delivered to vulnerable populations (e.g. those with unstable routines or pregnant women). This thesis significantly adds to the literature in this new area by giving empirical evidence of the habitual nature of tooth brushing behaviour, identifying variables associated with this habit and informing the development and testing of future interventions.
Supervisor: Harris, Rebecca ; Corcoran, Rhiannon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral