Oral health and dental well-being: testing a self-determination theory model


  • Author Contributions: AEMH designed the study and developed the items for the PCSDCQ and the SRQDT together with HH. ELD provided critical and constructive comments to the initial design. AEMH collected the data and drafted the manuscript. AEMD analyzed the data together with HH. HH, GB, and ELD provided critical and constructive comments to the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Anne E. Münster Halvari, Faculty of Odontology, Department of Dental Hygienist Education, University of Oslo, Geitmyrsveien 69/71, 0455 Oslo, Norway. E-mail: ahalvari@odont.uio.no


This study tested a self-determination theory (SDT) process model of oral health and subjective dental well-being. The results showed that: (1) patients' perceptions of autonomy-supportive dental professionals were significantly positively predictive of patients' psychological needs satisfaction in treatment; (2) needs satisfaction was significantly related to perceived dental competence (positive), autonomous motivation (positive), and controlled motivation (negative) for dental care; (3) perceived competence was significantly positively, and controlled motivation was significantly negatively associated with self-rated oral health and oral-health-related quality of life; (4) autonomous motivation for dental treatment was significantly positively associated with valuing continued dental treatment; and (5) the three oral-health-related variables were all significantly positively linked to subjective dental well-being. A structural equation model supported the SDT process model.