Abstract

Objectives

This study aimed to develop and validate a new instrument based on the health belief model and to use the instrument to investigate the determinants of regular dental attendance among primary schoolchildren.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was conducted using a newly developed measurement scale based on the HBM, 4 health-promoting schools participated in the study and 958 students studying in grades 4–6 completed the questionnaire. The psychometric properties of the instrument were analysed, and a path analysis model was used to identify the determinants of regular dental attendance.

Results

The instrument had good internal consistency (Cronbach’s α = 0.826–0.925) and a factor structure identical to HBM. Overall, the schoolchildren’s health beliefs on caries treatment were positive. The determinants of regular dental visit were school location (β = −0.13), mother’s education level (β = 0.15), susceptibility (β = −0.18) and barriers (β = −0.11).

Conclusion

This study provided evidence that HBM is applicable to children’s dental visiting behaviour and their health beliefs towards adherence to caries treatment. Although children had a positive attitude towards dental visits, environmental obstacles would interfere with dental visits. The newly developed instrument could be used to identify high-risk children and help design oral health interventions for these children. Moreover, policy makers should increase the accessibility of dental resources to enhance the utilization of dental care among schoolchildren.

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