Oral health inequality and psychosocial factors

AE Sanders*, AJ Spencer.

Objectives: To examine social inequality in oral health related quality-of-life among dentate Australian adults and to investigate associations between outcomes and psychosocial factors. 

Method: Data were collected with the 1999 National Dental Telephone Interview Survey and the Dental Health and Lifestyle Factors questionnaire survey mailed to adult interviewees. The questionnaire response rate was 64.6 percent and the dentate N=3,678. The outcome variable was the social impact of oral conditions measured with the short-form Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP). In addition to sociodemographic characteristics, independent variables were mean scale scores for batteries measuring personal control, perceived stress, social support and life satisfaction. 

Results: The social impact of oral conditions was significantly greater among socially disadvantaged population sub-groups irrespective of the indicator used to measure social position. Adults aged 40-49 years reported highest social impact scores. Also reporting greater social impact were adults living in non-Capital city locations, and those born overseas. In bivariate analysis, one-way ANOVA revealed a significant positive association between the social impact of dental problems and perceived stress and significant inverse associations were found between social impact and personal control, social support, and life satisfaction. 

Conclusion: Psychosocial resources appear to be important in the understanding social inequality in oral health related quality-of-life.

Presented at the 33rd Public Health Association of Australia Annual Conference, 23-26 September 2001, Sydney, Australia

Note: * indicates presenter

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