Teaching dental undergraduates behaviour change skills

McGoldrick, P. M. and Pine, C. M. and Mossey, P. A. (1998) Teaching dental undergraduates behaviour change skills. European Journal of Dental Education, 2 (3). pp. 124-132. ISSN 1600-0579

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Abstract

This paper describes an active learning-based education tool which enables dental students to learn preventive techniques relevant to patient dental health behaviour. 2 studies were conducted involving 33, 2nd year (study 1) and 9, 3rd year (study 2) undergraduate dental students. In study 1, snacking behaviour and its antecedents were analysed from detailed 3-day diet diaries completed by the students. Study 2 entailed the students changing one aspect of their sugar/diet behaviour using self-management techniques. It is concluded that dental students can successfully (a) identify antecedents to sugar snacking behaviours on several levels, i.e., cognitive, emotional and situational, (b) set goals and use behaviour change techniques to modify these behaviours, and (c) appreciate that this experience is relevant to similar preventive techniques that they will use in clinical practice. Training in the application of these skills to their own maladaptive behaviours provides a strong educational tool based on psycho-educational theories.