• brief motivational interviewing;
  • health literacy;
  • e-learning;
  • oral/systemic health


Oral healthcare providers are likely to encounter a number of sensitive oral/systemic health issues whilst interacting with patients. The purpose of the current study was to develop and evaluate a framework aimed at oral healthcare providers to engage in active secondary prevention of eating disorders (i.e. early detection of oral manifestations of disordered eating behaviours, patient approach and communication, patient-specific oral treatment, and referral to care) for patients presenting with signs of disordered eating behaviours. The EAT Framework was developed based on the Brief Motivational Interviewing (B-MI) conceptual framework and comprises three continuous steps: Evaluating, Assessing, and Treating. Using a group-randomized control design, 11 dental hygiene (DH) and seven dental (D) classes from eight institutions were randomized to either the intervention or control conditions. Both groups completed pre- and post-intervention assessments. Hierarchical linear models were conducted to measure the effects of the intervention whilst controlling for baseline levels. Statistically significant improvements from pre- to post-intervention were observed in the Intervention group compared with the Control group on knowledge of eating disorders and oral findings, skills-based knowledge, and self-efficacy (all P < 0.01). Effect sizes ranged from 0.57 to 0.95. No statistically significant differences in outcomes were observed by type of student. Although the EAT Framework was developed as part of a larger study on secondary prevention of eating disorders, the procedures and skills presented can be applied to other sensitive oral/systemic health issues. Because the EAT Framework was developed by translating B-MI principles and procedures, the framework can be easily adopted as a non-confrontational method for patient communication.