Community-Based Dental Health Education
Increasingly, public health authorities in a variety of countries are trying to raise the level of community dental health. In practice this means trying to change existing attitudes and behavior and/or instilling new attitudes and behaviors, particularly those that will prevent or minimize the occurrence of dental decay. Changing attitudes and behavior are central topics in social psychology and a great deal of empiric research and theory building about these processes has accumulated over the past 80 years. It is outside the scope of this book to provide a general review of this huge literature, nor would it be appropriate to do so. Rather, we propose to describe those theoretic models that have particular relevance to public health education and which have stimulated empiric research in this field. An important principle to be kept in mind is that public health education programs that are soundly based in theory are more likely to be effective than programs that do not have such a base.
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